The unprecedented decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics for a year amid the spread of the coronavirus has highlighted the impotence of Japan's sports community.

Although the decision was finalized at a lofty political level, it only happened after individual athletes forced the hand of sports federations and national Olympic committees abroad. While that was happening, the voice of the host country's sports world was all but mute.

On March 24, the night the official decision to postpone was made, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Olympic organizing committee President Yoshiro Mori and Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike spoke by telephone with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach. Japanese Olympic Committee President Yasuhiro Yamashita was conspicuously absent from the discussion.