Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach agreed Wednesday to work together to make next year's rescheduled Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics a success, the Foreign Ministry said.
In their first phone call since Suga took office a week ago, the two affirmed their commitment to making the Tokyo Games, which have been postponed to next summer due to the global coronavirus pandemic, "safe and secure" for both athletes and spectators, according to the Japanese ministry.
The IOC and the Tokyo Games organizing committee have agreed to simplify the games to slash the costs of the postponement. They aim to reach an accord this month on the specific items subject to cuts, including the number of people involved, related events and ceremonies.
During the roughly 15-minute call, Bach congratulated Suga on taking office and told him the Summer Games would be a "historic" event that brings hope to the Japanese people, the ministry said.
Suga assured Bach that his administration is working hard to keep the novel coronavirus under control, and constantly communicating with the Tokyo metropolitan government and the organizing committee to determine ways to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.
Bach said he hopes to visit Japan soon, with the two agreeing on the need to send a "strong message" to athletes across the world. The IOC chief has expressed his desire to come in late October to speak with Suga in person, according to a senior organizing committee official.
Suga, who succeeded Shinzo Abe to become Japan's first new leader in nearly eight years, also met with Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike on Wednesday for the first time since taking office, with the two affirming their cooperation on preparations for the games and the response to the novel coronavirus.
"We share the view that cooperation between the central government and the metropolitan government will contribute to the national interest," Koike told reporters after the meeting.