Tokyo Olympics 2020: Coronavirus threat has IOC seriously considering postponing Games

Japan's Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto says a contract allows for the Tokyo Games to be postponed within 2020, due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to start on July 24, but the Games could be delayed, as long as they are held within 2020.

"The International Olympic Committee [IOC] has the right to cancel the Tokyo Olympics, only if the Games are not held within this year," Hashimoto said.

The IOC has started a two-day executive board meeting, where the issue will be discussed. It is not yet known if any decision will be made, but recently the IOC has said the Games at present will proceed as planned.

Last week, the IOC's longest-serving member - Richard Pound - said the outbreak could lead to the cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics, but that the IOC has a three-month window to decide the fate of the 2020 Games.

About 11,000 athletes are expected to participate in the Olympics from July 24 to August 9. The Paralympics start on August 25.

The coronavirus outbreak that originated in China has killed more than 3000 people and infected more than 90,000 worldwide.

So far, Japan has confirmed nearly 990 cases of the infection, including about 700 on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in the port of Yokohama.

Meanwhile, the Japan Para Sports Association has cancelled a test event for Paralympic wheelchair rugby, due to the outbreak.

The event was originally scheduled to take place in mid-March.