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Olympics: IOC President Bach's visit to Japan expected to be cancelled, NHK reports

Olympics: IOC President Bach's visit to Japan expected to be cancelled, NHK reports

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach opens the 137th IOC Session and virtual meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Mar 10, 2021. (Photo: Greg Martin/IOC/Handout via REUTERS)

TOKYO: International Olympic Committee head Thomas Bach's visit to Japan is now expected to be cancelled given that the state of emergency has been extended in Tokyo and other areas, broadcaster NHK said on Friday (May 7) citing unnamed sources.

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto also said on Friday that Bach's visit might be "difficult" with coronavirus cases showing no signs of abating and the government keeping infection countermeasures in place to slow the spread of the virus.

"I suspect that coming to Japan in the midst of this very severe situation would also be an emotional burden for President Bach," she said at a news conference held on Friday.

READ: Japan extends COVID-19 emergency as Olympics approach

Japanese media reports have said Bach would attend a torch relay ceremony in the western city of Hiroshima on May 17, but Hashimoto said his visit had not been confirmed.

Tokyo 2020 organisers will keep a close eye on the coronavirus situation and make a decision on Olympic spectators in June based on that, Hashimoto also said.

On Friday, Japan extended a state of emergency in Tokyo and four other areas until the end of May, meaning the measures would end less than two months before the Olympics start on Jul 23 after being postponed for a year due to the pandemic.

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