The games will most likely happen next summer and will not be postponed any later than that.
Japan’s Olympics committee said the games were now untenable this year after Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe asked the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Monday to postpone them due to measures taken to combat COVID-19.
Mr Abe said IOC president Thomas Bach agreed “100% to postponing the games for a year.
Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike, who was part of the talks, said the games would not be cancelled, just postponed, and they would still be called “Tokyo 2020”.
The country’s Olympics minister, Seiko Hashimoto, said the Olympics would not be delayed beyond summer 2021 and the decision should be a relief for athletes who did not know if they were competing soon or not.
There had been growing calls for Tokyo 2020 to not take place as the world struggles with the coronavirus pandemic, despite the committee insisting over the past few weeks it would go ahead.
Canada and Australia confirmed on Monday they would not be sending their athletes to Tokyo for their own safety, while the British and French governments urged the IOC to make a quick decision.
In the 124-years of the modern Olympics, the games has never been postponed, although it has been cancelled three times – in 1916, 1940 and 1944 due to the two world wars.
An IOC statement said the Olympic flame will stay in Japan “to stand as a beacon of hope for Tokyo and around the world” and it hopes the games next year will be a celebration after the coronavirus pandemic.
Sky Sports News correspondent Rebecca Williams said although the announcement will be met with sadness by athletes, it will also come as a relief because it has become difficult to train.
Team GB swimmer Adam Peaty told her a few weeks ago that if Tokyo 2020 went ahead without crowds it would be “really really tough” and they would have to find ways to motivate themselves.