• Kyodo

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Japanese Emperor Naruhito said Tuesday he hopes all athletes participating in the Tokyo Paralympics can perform to the best of their abilities despite the difficulties stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

“I hope that the closely coordinated measures implemented by you and all those involved for the prevention of infection will allow all athletes to compete in their sports in good health with complete commitment and peace of mind,” the emperor told International Paralympic Committee chief Andrew Parsons during a meeting.

“I would like to join you in wishing all athletes the very best,” he said in English at the Imperial Palace, while noting his concern that Paralympians may face higher risks during the pandemic than athletes did during the Olympics that concluded earlier this month due to some having underlying conditions.

Parsons said, “We will do everything we can to deliver a safe games for everyone,” during the meeting attended by about 10 IPC officials and held in the hours before the Paralympic opening ceremony.

The IPC president also told the emperor the Paralympics “are not just fantastic to watch, they also have the ability to transform society like no other sports event on this planet.”

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