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Japan's Abe vows full cooperation in French Olympic payment probe

Japan's prime minister has pledged to cooperate with French investigators on a probe into an improper Olympic bid payment. Tokyo has been selected to host the 2020 Olympic Games.

On Monday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said his country would cooperate fully with French investigators looking into a payment that allegedly helped Tokyo secure their successful bid for the 2020 summer Olympics.

"Education and Sports Minister Hiroshi Hase told the Japanese Olympic Committee and the former bid committee to cooperate in the investigation," Abe was quoted by Jiji Press as saying in a speech to lawmakers.

At issue is a payment of $2 million (1.8 million euros), transferred through a bank in Singapore, to a company associated with Papa Massata Diack, the son of former International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) head Lamine Diack.

At the time of the Olympic bid in 2013, the elder Diack was an Olympic Committee member. Both men are under investigation on corruption charges in France relating to a doping cover-up of Russian track athletes, and the allegations regarding the Tokyo bid came to light as part of that investigation.

The head of the Japanese Olympic Committee, Tsunekazu Takeda, has said the payments to the company Black Tidings were for consulting services, and "were in our opinion proper and adequate for the services provided and gave no cause for suspicion at the time."

Papa Massata Diack has denied being involved in securing the 2020 Olympic bid for Tokyo.

mz/jil (AFP, sid)

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