Tokyo, April 2 (IANS) Japan said on Monday that it is paying close attention to contacts between North Korea and the International Olympic Committee following a visit by the president of the IOC to Pyongyang during which North Korea’s participation in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was discussed.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference that they were closely following the talks and would make the necessary efforts to collaborate with the appropriate organisations to ensure that the Olympic and Paralympic Games are successful, reports Efe.
Suga was responding to a question about the recent visit by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach to Pyongyang, where he spent three days and met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and other senior officials.
During the visit, Bach expressed his wish to work towards ensuring North Korea’s participation in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Suga avoided making any official statement about what he described as a conversation between third parties, but said that the Japanese government was closely following the development of the matter.
The Olympics enjoy a special symbolic position in the current thaw in relations between Pyongyang, Seoul and Washington, as North Korean athletes participated in the Winter Olympics in South Korea’s PyeongChang in February, and paved the way for two forthcoming historic summits – between the leaders of North Korea and the United States, and the two Koreas.
Kim, during his meeting with Bach on Friday, underlined the significant role of the IOC in the current diplomatic scenario involving the easing of tensions between the two Koreas.