TOKYO, SEPT. 16 -- An "Olympic truce" to heal the world's wounds was proposed today by the head of the International Olympic Committee.

IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch said the Games should "become the privileged forum for the encounter, reflection and action of the rising forces of our world."

The address, which opened the IOC's annual meeting, referred to the sports impact of the Middle East crisis, the economic and political problems facing the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, efforts to end apartheid in South Africa and the spread of drugs throughout society.

The IOC, with its 167 member nations, should be a perfect umbrella under which answers to such problems could be found, Samaranch said.

"By establishing between them a kind of Olympic truce in keeping with the hopes and needs of our time, these rising forces could come together beneath the symbol of the five interlinked rings to make a reality of those values ceaselessly proclaimed and ceaselessly called into question: freedom, the greater welfare of all, solidarity and peace," he said.

Japanese Emperor Akihito formally opened the session. Earlier, Prime Minister Toshihi Kaifu asked the IOC's executive board to support the bid of Nagano, Japan, for the 1998 Winter Games. That vote comes next year.

The session's first business meeting is scheduled Monday and its major task is set for Tuesday, that of deciding the host city for the 100th anniversary of the modern games in 1996.

Samaranch praised the six bidders -- Athens, Atlanta, Belgrade, Manchester, England, Melbourne, Australia, and Toronto -- but added, "Our gratitude is tinged with regret. Regret because we can award the Games to only one of those six cities, all of whom are worthy of them."

The IOC chief paid tribute to three members who had died since last year's session -- Vladimir Stoytchev of Bulgaria, Reginald Alexander of New Zealand and Sheikd Fahad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah of Kuwait, who was killed when Iraq invaded his country last month.

Samaranch also noted the IOC's recent decision to support the national Olympic committee of Kuwait in exile.

In South Africa, he said, progress was being made toward abolishing apartheid, a move that could see the readmission of a nation expelled from the IOC in 1970 for its racial policies.

"So far, 1990 has seen an easing of the situation, and we shall all be happy and proud to witness the day when South African athletes rejoin their fellows from all over the world at the Olympic Games," Samaranch said.