IOC President Thomas Bach Hails ‘Crucial’ Shinzo Abe after His Resignation as Prime Minister


IOC President Thomas Bach Friday released a statement hailing outgoing Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for his role in the lead up to the Tokyo Olympics.

Abe announced his resignation Friday, citing health reasons. Abe, 65, suffers from ulcerative colitis, which has flared up in recent weeks, causing him to leave office. Four days prior to his resignation, Abe set the record for the longest uninterrupted tenure as Japan’s leader. He took office in 2012 in the wake of the deadly earthquake, tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear disaster, following a string of six prime ministers in five years.

Bach has worked closely with Abe’s Japanese government and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in securing the Tokyo Games for 2020. Abe had been in office for less than a year when the 2020 Games were awarded to Tokyo in September 2013.

That working relationship has moved into uncharted territory with the COVID-19 pandemic which forced the postponement of the Games until 2021. Just this week, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee announced a convention on countermeasures for hosting the Games next summer.

Bach’s full statement on Shinzo Abe:

It is with great sadness that I learned about the resignation of Prime Minister Abe.

First of all, I would like to wish him all the very best in his fight against this disease with all the strength we know him to have. At the same time, I would like to thank Prime Minister Abe for his great leadership in getting the Olympic Games back to Japan after the Olympic Games Tokyo 1964, and in overseeing and supporting the overall preparation of these Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

His engagement was crucial to making the Tokyo Organising Committee the best prepared ever. Throughout these years, Prime Minister Abe was a strong partner who always stood up for the interests of Japan, and who at the same time could always be trusted. In this way, we were able to find solutions, even in the most difficult circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, which allow his vision for Japan to still come true, even if with one year’s delay.

All the Japanese athletes and the athletes of the entire world are very grateful to him.

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