Japan's Olympic minister says there is the possibility that the Tokyo 2020 Games could be postponed from the summer until later in the year, owing to fears over the coronavirus.

Seiko Hashimoto, who was speaking in the Japenese parliament, referenced the contract Tokyo has with the International Olympic Committee which "calls for the Games to be held within 2020".

Hashmioto believes there could be room then to hold the Games at a point later in the year.

As reported on the BBC, she added: "We are doing all we can to ensure that the Games go ahead as planned".

The word from the IOC president Thomas Bach is that the organisation is "fully committed" to hosting the Games. 

Peter Sherrard, the CEO of the Olympic Federation of Ireland, is confident the Tokyo Olympics will proceed as planned but insists neither the OFI or the International Olympic Committee are being complacent about the threat of the coronavirus.

He said his organisation was "fully committed" to the Olympics starting in Tokyo on schedule on 24 July.

A statement from the IOC's executive board said: "The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board (EB) today expressed its full commitment to the success of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, taking place from 24 July to 9 August 2020.

"The IOC EB heard a report on all the measures taken so far to address the coronavirus situation, which was followed by a comprehensive discussion.

"A joint task force had already been created in mid-February, involving the IOC, Tokyo 2020, the host city of Tokyo, the government of Japan and the World Health Organization (WHO).

"The IOC EB appreciates and supports the measures being taken, which constitute an important part of Tokyo's plans to host safe and secure Games."

IOC member Dick Pound had earlier said that a decision on whether the Games could go ahead or not would need to be taken by May, but stressed the event would only be cancelled if it was felt that to do so would pose a serious threat to the health of athletes and spectators.