With the COVID-19 outbreak showing no signs of abating, Tokyo's Olympic Games will most likely be moved to 2021, according to senior International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Dick Pound.
In an interview with USA Today, Pound said "postponement has been decided", admitting the ramifications of the decision will be "immense".
"The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on 24 July, that much I know," Pound said.
The International Olympic Committee has not officially announced the postponement. It has given itself four weeks to decide on the future of this summer's Games. Pound said a decision will be announced soon.
The apparent and probably inevitable move comes after various countries, including Australia, Canada and the UK, said they would not compete in the Games this summer, citing safety concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic
The postponement will have huge effects not only on Japan's economy, but also on key stakeholders such as advertising giant Dentsu Group, which is heavily involved in the planning and operation of the sporting event.
Dentsu Group's shares plummeted to seven-year lows in February amid concerns that the Games would be cancelled.
If the postponement plan goes ahead, it would be first time in the Olympics' 124-year modern history that the games were delayed. The Games were cancelled outright in 1916, 1940 and 1944 during the world wars.
(This article first appeared on CampaignAsia.com)