TOKYO -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday asked U.S. President Donald Trump on the phone to cooperate on holding the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games amid the global coronavirus crisis. The president said that the U.S. appreciated Japan's transparent efforts on the matter, according to a Japanese government source.
Following the talks, Trump posted a tweet saying he told Abe that the Olympic venue was "magnificent". The tweet said, "He has done an incredible job, one that will make him very proud. Good things will happen for Japan and their great Prime Minister. Lots of options!"
The phone discussion took place after Trump suggested the Olympic games be delayed for a year. The two leaders spoke for about 50 minutes about the coronavirus pandemic, among other topics. During the discussion, the U.S. president did not refer to the possible delay of the Olympics, the Japanese government source said.
Abe explained Japan's stimulus plan to cushion the damage, including 1.6 trillion yen ($15 billion) in financial aid. The phone discussion was initiated by the U.S. side, the source said.
They also discussed measures to contain the coronavirus, including calls to cancel large-scale events and the temporary closure of elementary, junior high and high schools in Japan.
On Thursday, the day that the Olympic torch was lit in Greece, Trump told reporters at the White House, "Maybe they postpone it (the Tokyo games) for a year." He added, "I think that's a better alternative than doing it with no crowd."