Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) board member Kaori Yamaguchi has called for the Tokyo Olympics to be postponed because athletes are unable to prepare adequately as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, she told the Nikkei newspaper.
Yamaguchi, who won a Judo bronze medal at the Seoul Olympic Games in 1988, said she plans to raise this point at a JOC Board Meeting scheduled for March 27.
"The Olympics should not be held in a situation people in the world can’t enjoy," Yamaguchi said.
"As far as I can tell, athletes in the United States and Europe are unable to train as normal and finish their qualifying matches. That makes it impossible for them to appear well prepared at the start, with all the associated risks," Yamaguchi said.
Some context: Yamaguchi’s comments come after International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Hayley Wickenheiser on Tuesday called the decision to proceed with the Games “insensitive and irresponsible.”
Wickenheiser, who competed for Canada in five Winter Olympic Games in Ice Hockey and at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Softball, wrote in a statement on Twitter: "This crisis is bigger than even the Olympics […] Athletes can't train. Attendees can't travel plan."
The IOC and Tokyo 2020 Organizers have repeatedly insisted that the games will run as scheduled in Japan’s capital from July 24 to Aug. 9.