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IOC chief Thomas Bach to visit new Japanese PM, Tokyo Olympics leaders

IOC chief Thomas Bach to visit new Japanese PM, Tokyo Olympics leaders

IOC president Thomas Bach. (Photo: AP)

TOKYO: International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach is planning a trip to Japan next month to meet with the country's new prime minister Yoshihide Suga and organisers of the postponed Tokyo Olympics, organising committee CEO Toshiro Muto said on Friday (Oct 9).

In an online briefing, Muto said the trip was scheduled for the middle of November.

“I don't know the specific timing,” Muto said, adding he expected the prime minister's office to handle the details.

The IOC did not immediately confirm the dates.

Bach and local organisers have been trying to assure sponsors and broadcasters over the last few months that the postponed Olympics can open on Jul 23, 2021, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Japan has invested billions of dollars to organise the Olympics, and the IOC relies on two Olympics - Summer and Winter - during every four-year cycle for almost all of its revenue.

About 1,600 deaths in Japan have been attributed to the coronavirus. 

Although Japan has been relatively unscathed by the pandemic, this is not the case in many of the other 205 countries and territories represented at the Olympics.

The event next year will draw 15,400 Olympic and Paralympic athletes, and thousands of staff, officials and media.

It is unclear if fans will be permitted or, if so, in what numbers. It is even less clear if fans from abroad will be able to enter Japan in large numbers.

Source: AP/kg

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