(ATR) IOC president Thomas Bach is said to be preparing for a trip to Tokyo in May, Kyodo News reports.
Bach would attend the torch relay ceremony in Hiroshima May 17 and meet with Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide and Tokyo Metropolitan Governor Koike Yuriko, according to the news agency.
The IOC press office tells Around the Rings it cannot confirm any dates for the trip.
The journey would be Bach’s second to Japan since the pandemic postponed the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. His first was in November where he visited the new National Stadium and had a series of high level meetings.
Plans for a Tokyo visit and how to counter the gloomy public mood in Japan about the Olympics will be discussed this week in the latest meeting of the ruling IOC Executive Board chaired by Bach. The April 21 meeting will include reports on upcoming Olympic host cities through 2026, excluding Beijing, host of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games just 10 months away.
Along with the public relations challenge Tokyo is posing over the Olympics and COVID-19, Beijing awaits with a worldwide clamor underway over human rights issues in China. As far as planning for the 2022 Games, Beijing is far behind the normal timeline in some key areas. The pandemic has gutted plans for test events and not a single ticket has been sold domestically or internationally .
The IOC EB will hear reports on Olympic sports, which should include reform of the International Weightlifting Federation and suspended Olympic boxing federation AIBA.
An athletes report on the agenda may include recommendations on changes to IOC rules on protests and other expressions of dissent during the Olympics. For the past year the IOC has solicited comments from athletes around the globe on whether the IOC ban on certain forms of protest should be modified.
The IOC EB has been meeting on a near-monthly basis since last April on a virtual basis. The four-hour meeting this week will be followed with a press conference from the IOC president.
Reported by Ed Hula.