2020 Tokyo Olympics will be delayed by about one year due to coronavirus

March 24, 2020, 12:51 PM UTC

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the leader of the International Olympic Committee agreed to the unprecedented move to delay the Tokyo Olympics by about one year due to worries of holding the event during the coronavirus pandemic.

Abe told reporters Tuesday he won the backing for the proposal to delay the games planned to start in July in telephone call with IOC President Thomas Bach. “The Tokyo Olympics will not be canceled,” Abe told reporters in Tokyo after the call.

The postponement would be the first since the modern games began in the 19th century and make the Tokyo 2020 Olympics the biggest sporting event called off due to the pandemic that has caused more than 387,000 confirmed cases, led to a plunge in global markets and slammed the brakes on international travel.

Due to the IOC’s numerous stakeholders, it may take some time for the postponement to be made officially.

The Tokyo Olympics were headed toward postponement this week as national teams arranged to pull out if the games went on as planned and Abe acknowledged a delay may be unavoidable due to the coronavirus.

More coronavirus coverage from Fortune:

—Why the extraordinary dollar surge spells more trouble for the global economy
—Japan finally admits coronavirus might disrupt Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Which stores are open—and closed—during the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.?
—What medical experts say about Everlywell’s home coronavirus testing kits
—How to defer your mortgage payment due to coronavirus
—How Emmy season is proceeding, with caution, amid the coronavirus crisis
—Listen to Leadership Next, a Fortune podcast examining the evolving role of CEO
—WATCH: World leaders and health experts on how to stop the spread of COVID-19

Subscribe to Outbreak, a daily newsletter roundup of stories on the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on global business. It’s free to get it in your inbox.