China could send vice premier to Japan for Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony


China plans to send Vice Premier Sun Chunlan to the opening ceremony of the delayed Olympics in Tokyo.

Citing sources close to the Chinese Communist Party and the Japanese news agency Kyodo News Sun reports that Sun is online to attend the ceremony, which is scheduled to take place on July 23 at the Japan National Stadium.

Sun is one of four vice prime ministers of China and holds the sports portfolio as the country prepares for the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

It is reported that China is seeking to strengthen cooperation with Japan to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games amid the coronavirus pandemic.

China is reportedly supporting the hosting of this year’s Games despite public opposition in Japan over concerns over rising COVID-19 numbers.

The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, has previously claimed that the back-to-back Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 schedule can be beneficial for the organizers of the Winter Olympics.

The Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics have been rescheduled from July 23 to August 8, with the closing ceremony taking place less than six months before Beijing 2022 opens on February 4.

French President Emmanuel Macron is also said to have planned to attend the opening ceremony.

There is only six months between the summer and winter editions of the Olympic Games © Getty Images
There is only six months between the summer and winter editions of the Olympic Games © Getty Images

France is due to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris and will receive the witness from Japan after the Games are concluded in Tokyo.

It was reported last month that First Lady Jill Biden is expected to represent the United States at the opening ceremony.

According to reports in the United States and Japan, the White House and the Tokyo government are coordinating his visit and planning to organize his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

US President Joe Biden himself will not attend the opening ceremony.

Los Angeles is expected to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2028.

The opening ceremony could be held in front of VIPs only, with all other spectators to be banned due to concerns over COVID-19.

Asahi Shimbun reports that foreign dignitaries, diplomats, IOC members and Olympic sponsors will be among those able to attend.