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No IOC confirmation for Bach visit to Japan in May

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Berlin, April 18 (IANS) The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Sunday didn’t confirm another visit of its president Thomas Bach to Japan ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

An IOC spokesman said that no dates have been set for such a visit, DPA reported.

Citing sources close to the matter, Japan’s Kyodo news agency had reported on Saturday that Bach would attend a torch relay ceremony in Hiroshima on May 17 and meet with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga the next day.

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Talks with Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike and organising committee chief Seiko Hashimoto were also planned, the report said.

Kyodo said that Bach and Japan want to reaffirm their commitment to safely stage the July 23-August 8 Games amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Bach visited Japan in November as part of a similar commitment, his first trip there after the Games were postponed by one year in March 2020 owing to the health crisis.

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Coronavirus numbers in Japan and other countries are rising, and on Thursday Toshihiro Nikai, secretary general of Japan’s ruling party LDP, said a cancellation of the Games might be an option if the coronavirus pandemic worsens.

But Suga insisted there was no change in the government’s position “to do everything possible to achieve safe Olympic Games”.

–IANS

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akm/rt

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