"In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the worldwide community", the IOC and Abe said in a joint statement.
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe told his country's parliament on Monday that a postponement would be unavoidable if the event can not be held in a complete way.
After winning the world championships in the in the individual and team pursuits this year, Chloe Dygert automatically qualified to compete at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, where she hoped to add to her medal tally after taking silver in the team pursuit in Rio.More news: Overwatch reveals Echo, its new hero built by one of the founders
Mr Abe made the announcement after a late-night teleconference with IOC President Thomas Bach.
"We have no doubt that the IOC and Tokyo Organizing Committee will put on an exceptional Games next year, and that the Olympic flame will once again unite the world and provide a light at the end of this tunnel". However, it's becoming increasingly apparent that even if conditions in Japan were to somehow improve enough to make large-scale sporting events not a danger for transmission of the virus among spectators and competitors, the global scale of the epidemic are making Olympic-level training and preparation now impossible for athletes around the globe.
The organization wouldn't confirm or deny Monday whether the Games were going to be postponed after veteran International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound told USA Today the event was on hold.
Training has become impossible for many athletes and exposes them to the risk of contracting or spreading the disease.More news: Manchester United Make Huge Odion Ighalo Decision
The opposition to the pre-set July date grew when the national Olympic committees of Brazil, Germany, and Norway all issued statements calling for the Games to be postponed, while UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Donald Trump both issued statements confirming they were closely monitoring the situation in Tokyo.
It is not the first time Tokyo has seen unscheduled changes to the Games - it was due to be the first Asian country to host the Olympics in 1940 before pulling out due to global pressure over its war with China.
"The IOC has said it will make a decision in four weeks", he told the Guardian.
But Tokyo 2020 organisers had pointed to the unparalleled complexity - not to mention cost - of shifting the Games. It is not even clear venues will be available and tens of thousands of hotel rooms will need to be cancelled and rebooked.More news: Coronavirus global cases surpass 300,000, Johns Hopkins reports
Twice Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor, who is also the founder of the Athletics Association, said 78% of athletes want the July 24-Aug.