Tokyo 2020 Tokyo 2020 Olympic organisers hope Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will remain involved in preparations for the re-arranged Games next year, despite his announced resignation on Friday.
Abe had been all but synonymous with Tokyo 2020, heavily involved in the winning bid in 2013 and dressing up as video game character Mario during the closing ceremony of the Rio Games three years later.
And in March, he announced that the Games would be postponed until July 23 to Aug. 8, 2021, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Abe was very active in our winning bid of the Tokyo Olympics. He also made the difficult decision of postponing the Games by a year,” Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto told Reuters. “It would be very encouraging for us if he could continue to guide us in our efforts with countering the coronavirus and hosting the Olympics, even after he steps down.”
Games organisers have said the rearranged Olympics will be a symbol of the world’s re-emergence from the pandemic.
Pre-pandemic, association with the Games had not been entirely positive for Abe.
The man who celebrated with Abe at the announcement that Tokyo would host the Games, former Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda, is now under investigation in France over suspected corruption related to the bid.
David Leheny, a political scientist at Waseda University, believes the pandemic might allow Abe to retain his close association with the Games but avoid some of the blame if they do not go as planned.
“I do think there will be efforts made to make certain he is a very visible part of the Games,” Leheny said. “I think certainly he will be remembered for it, whether the Games go on or not.
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