Reports suggest the new opening date for the Tokyo Olympics is likely to be July 23, 2021, after it was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The date, which will be exactly one year on from its original schedule, will be the International Olympic Committee's target for the opening ceremony according to reports from the New York Times and Japanese state broadcaster NHK.

Tokyo Olympic organisers seem to be leaning away from starting the rescheduled games in the spring of 2021. More and more the signs point toward the summer of 2021.

Organising committee president Yoshiro Mori suggested there would be no major change from 2020.

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"The games are meant to be in summer, so we should be thinking of a time between June and September," Japanese news agency Kyodo reported Mori saying on Saturday.

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, after the postponement was announced in Switzerland on Tuesday, left open the possibility of spring dates.

The postponed games were to have opened on July 23 and closed on August 8. Mori suggested some decisions could be made as early as this week when the organising committee's executive board meets.

The Olympic rings are seen behind cherry blossoms. Photo / AP
The Olympic rings are seen behind cherry blossoms. Photo / AP

Any final decision will be made by local organisers and the IOC, and hundreds of sponsors, sports federations and broadcasters.

Athletes have been left in limbo by the postponement. Many have been forced to stop training because of the spreading coronavirus. Even those who can train have no idea about how to schedule training to reach peak fitness at the right time.

Mori and organising committee CEO Toshiro Muto have both said the added cost of rescheduling will be "enormous." Early estimates put those costs at between $2 billion-$3 billion with the several levels of Japanese governments likely to foot most of the bills.

Tokyo organisers say they are spending $12.6 billion to stage the games. However, a government audit report said it will cost at least twice that much. All but $5.6 billion is public money.

The Switzerland-based IOC has contributed $1.3 billion to organise the Tokyo Olympics, according to local organising committee documents. It has a reserve fund of about $2 billion for such emergencies and also has insurance coverage.

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