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Japanese Olympic Committee would be happy to see Putin at 2020 Olympics in Tokyo

Nobuyuki Asai, an assistant of the JOC chief, is currently on an official visit to Moscow

MOSCOW, August 15. /TASS, Andrey Kartashov/. The Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) has said it will be glad to see Russian President Vladimir Putin attending the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Nobuyuki Asai, an assistant of the JOC chief, told TASS on Thursday.

"My boss Yasuhiro Yamashita is not only President of the JOC, but also head of the All Japan Judo Federation, so both he and Vladimir Putin are judokas. Naturally, we would be happy to have Vladimir Putin at the Olympics in Tokyo," Asai, who is currently on an official visit to Moscow, stated.

The 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo are scheduled to be held between July 24 and August 9 and the 2020 Summer Paralympic Games will run between August 25 and September 6.

Asai, who is a member of the Executive Board of the International Sambo Federation (FIAS), is paying a visit to Moscow to sign a cooperation agreement with the Dmitry Nosov School of Martial Arts.

The high-ranking Japanese sports official also said that Russian President Putin’s devotion to the Judo wrestling helps with the popularization of this sport around the globe.

"The fact that Putin loves Judo and is an expert is very useful for the promotion of this sport around the globe," he said.

The 66-year-old Russian president, known for his avid support of sports development in Russia, is a black belt holder in judo and he regularly practices.

Asai said he believed that Japanese judokas would be the favorites of the 2020 Olympics to win most of the gold medals.

"The favorites in the fight for the gold will be judokas from Japan," he said. "But Russia is my second motherland and this is why I will be sympathizing with the Russian athletes as well."

Seven years ago the International Judo Federation granted Russian President Putin an eighth Dan for his work to promote this sport. In his youth Putin was judo champion of his home city Leningrad, now called St. Petersburg. In 2008, he starred in the judo video "Let's Learn Judo With Vladimir Putin.