- Title: Trump says Tokyo 2020 Olympics delay better than empty seats
- Date: 12th March 2020
- Summary: WASHINGTON D.C., UNITED STATES (MARCH 12, 2020) (UNRESTRICTED POOL) SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER'S QUESTION: "Any -- anymore thoughts about the Tokyo Olympics?" PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: No, I just wish the prime minister -- he's a great friend of mine, Prime Minister Abe, and I wish him luck. They did such a perfect job. The venues are incredible. He was proudly showing me pictures of what they've done the last time I was with him. This was before this came up, and I said, "What a job," and they built it very well. They built it on budget, right on â€“ even under budget, and they're beautiful facilities. I don't know, I mean... PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It's very possible -- it's very possible that for the Olympics, maybe -- I just can't see having no people there. I -- in other words, not allowing people. Maybe -- and this is just my idea -- maybe they postpone it for a year. Maybe they do that, if that's possible. Maybe they -- maybe that's not possible. I guess it's never happened with the Olympics, although I think there was interruption for wars. UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER'S QUESTION: It has been canceled. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Right? It was canceled or interruption. But I would say maybe they postpone it for a year. It's a shame, because really, I'm -- you know, I used to be in the real estate business, as you've probably heard. They built some really -- and I -- I built beautiful buildings, and they've built some really beautiful buildings. UNIDENTIFIED REPORTERS QUESTION: Would you make that recommendation to your friend Shinzo Abe? PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: No, no, they're very smart. They're going to make their own. But you know, I -- I like that better than I like having empty stadiums all over the place. I think if you cancel it, make it a year later, that's a better alternative than doing it with no crowd.
- Keywords: Olympics Tokyo 2020 Trump coronavirus
- Reuters ID: LVA001C4R0BB3
- Location: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES
- City: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Duration: 00:01:23
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Olympics,Sport
- Story Text: U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday (March 12) officials should consider delaying the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games for one year amid the coronavirus pandemic, saying the summer event would not be the same without spectators.
Japanese officials have sought to squash speculation the event could be canceled or postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak as the number of cases grows worldwide, including in Japan.
"I just can't see having no people there," Trump told reporters at the White House.
"Maybe they postpone it for a year... if that's possible," he said, adding he would not officially make that recommendation to Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who could make his own decision.
"I like that better than I like having empty stadiums all over the place. I think if you cancel it, make it a year later that's a better alternative than doing it with no crowd," Trump said.
The outbreak has already crippled global travel and hit a number of sporting events. Public health officials have discouraged large gatherings in a bid to curtail the spread of the highly contagious disease, and major soccer tournaments, National Basketball Association (NBA) games and other sports have been halted.
An Olympic organizing committee board member said earlier this week any decision to delay the Summer Games would need to be made before May. On Thursday, the prelude to the games got underway with the lighting of the Olympic Torch in a scaled-down ceremony behind closed doors.
The United States is one of the biggest participants in the Games, scheduled to begin in July and expected to be a major economic boost for Japan.
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