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“First of all, I would like to wish Prime Minister Abe all the very best in his fight against this disease with all the strength we know him to have,” Bach said in a statement.

He also thanked Abe for his leadership in bringing the Olympic Games back to Japan after the Tokyo 1964 Games. His engagement was crucial, he said.

“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.”

Andrew Parsons, president of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) also wished Abe all the best for his recovery.

“Few will forget his involvement at the Rio 2016 Olympic Closing Ceremony when he appeared dressed as Super Mario,” he said.

“What has impressed me the most during his tenure is his desire to use the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games as a catalyst to drive social inclusion in Japan.”

Parsons paid tribute to Abe’s commitment to the Paralympic Movement, saying that thanks to him “millions of persons with disabilities can pursue their dreams as active members of Japanese society, fully harnessing their potential and capabilities.”

“There can be no better legacy than transforming the lives of millions of people for the better.”

(Additional reporting by Antoni Slodkowski and Karols Grohmann; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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