Japan has assured U.S. it will keep in 'close contact' on Olympics - White House

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FILE PHOTO: Man looks at his mobile phone next to The Olympic rings in front of the Japan Olympics Museum in Tokyo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Japanese government has assured the United States that it will keep in close contact about concerns over the coronavirus ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, the White House said Wednesday.

"We trust what the government of Japan has stated to us," deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Wednesday.

The White House understands "the careful consideration that the Japanese government and the International Olympics committee are weighing" as they prepare for the games, Jean-Pierre said.

"Tokyo has assured us that they will keep in close contact with Washington as their plans develop," she added.

A top Olympic official last week said the Games would start as planned in Tokyo on July 23, even under a state of emergency after being postponed in 2020 during the pandemic.

The United States on Monday issued an advisory against travel to Japan, but Japanese officials said it would not affect the Games.

Several polls have shown the majority of the Japanese public is opposed to holding the Games this summer, concerned about tens of thousands of athletes and officials descending on a country where vaccinations have proceeded slowly. Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, an official Olympics partner, urged the cancellation of the games on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Heather Timmons and Merdie Nzanga, Editing by Franklin Paul and Aurora Ellis)

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