Anger As Tokyo Mayor’s Islam Remarks Damage 2020 Olympic Bid

Inose Islam remarks cause trouble for Tokyo Olympic Bid.

Tokyo Mayor Inose Naoki endorses the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Bid on his official Facebook page.

Tokyo mayors have something of a reputation for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.

Just as former mayor Ishihara Shintaro is remembered for his outlandish statements which were seemingly always made well within earshot of the media, so too his successor, Inose Naoki, continues to carry the torch for over-opinionated and bigoted public statements. Sadly, this may mean Tokyo never gets to carry the Olympic torch.

Inose, who is a key figure in Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic Bid, has recently been forced to apologise over disparaging remarks involving Islam that he made about the Istanbul 2020 bid. Now, the Japanese Olympic Committee is going into damage limitation mode in an attempt to save Tokyo’s bid.

This Sankei News article was the most-commented on article on Yahoo! News, with Japanese netizens showing considerable anger toward Inose for having jeopardized what was shaping up to be a strong bid to host the 2020 Olympics, as well as for upsetting Turkey, a nation which is seen as being distinctly pro-Japanese.

From Yahoo! Japan:

Inose Naoki Remarks: Painful Point Loss For Tokyo’s Olympic Bid; Committe Reaffirms Its IOC Pledge In Rush To Undo Damage.

In the ongoing issue of Tokyo Mayor Inose Naoki apologising for his remarks about Istanbul, with whom Tokyo is competing to win the bid for the 2020 Olympics, on April 30 Takeda Tsunekazu, president of the Japanese Olympic Committee, re-sent an affirmation by the committee to abide by IOC rules in response to an enquiry from the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Though the Japanese committee are rushing to undo the damage done by Inose’s remarks, this will inevitably have an influence on lobbying activities, which will gain momentum from May onward.

Between May and July is the period when key meetings of the International Committee are held consecutively. In particular, the main battlegrounds for lobbying activities are the meeting of the IOC governing body at the end of May, and the bid presentations to the IOC in early July. For that reason alone, the bid committee are on edge, saying that “From now on it is critical that we avoid any unnecessary loss of points”.

Last summer, former Tokyo Mayor Ishihara Shintaro’s remarks over purchasing the Senkaku Islands invited opposition from some IOC committee members, and it seems that with Mayor Inose’s recent remarks, the impression that Japan has made overseas is not good. The Turkish cabinet has also expressed its distaste.

Harada Munehiko, a professor at Waseda University’s Institute of Sports Science and an expert in sports management, suggested: “How about taking out a full page apology in the New York Times (the US newspaper that reported the mayor’s remarks)? If we don’t convey any new information, then the mayor’s remarks will take on a life of their own online”. Harada advises that they should take measures before a negative impression of Japan can spread.

Fukuda Tomiaki, who chairs the Olympic bid strategy, also fostered a sense of crisis, saying that “We call for bids to compete on a fair basis, which is our true intention. We want to take back the votes we lost”. In the previous 2016 bid which Tokyo lost, it was said that one of the reasons for the lost bid was the weakness of presence in lobbying activities. When the bid committee should, by rights, be on the offensive to win the bid, it hurts that they have to play defence over Inose’s remarks.

Comments from Yahoo! Japan:


At a press conference in London in January, he said “It’s good if developing countries to chase to emulate first world countries, but they have to create a first world country for themselves”. So he’s never really been a gentleman. I’m embarrassed to be Japanese.


Of course, religious Muslims and Islamic fundamentalists blur into one. In this guy’s head.


If there’s going to be a written apology [in the NY Times] let it be at Mayor Inose’s expense. I still don’t think we’ll be able to get the points we lost back though.


Fall on your sword already, and get and apologise to Turkey — it’s pro-Japan!!
At the present time, when we’re up against countries that are really good at appealing to foreign nations over Senkaku and Takeshima, what are you going to do if we give a bad impression of ourselves to other foreign states, let along pro-Japanese countries!?
Honestly, all I can say is what a clueless idiot!!


An act of stupidity, pouring tax money down the drain.


To everyone in Turkey, to everyone in the Islamic world, I am so deeply sorry that the Mayor of Tokyo’s remarks made you feel uncomfortable. The mayor should go to the Turkish embassy and apologise! It seems that Mr. Abe will visit Turkey, so please restore Turkey’s faith in Japan, Mr. Abe.
For those of you who have a Turkish restaurant in your neighbourhood, please use it.
Because of that idiot Inose, not only Turkish people but a lot of people have been made to feel uncomfortable!
Politicians and people who have influence need to stop destroying the efforts of Japanese citizens!


I’m so sorry to the people of Turkey, a nation which is a friend of Japan.


At the end of the day, an author doesn’t make a real politician. [Inose was known as an author and literary critic before entering politics].


Apologise to the Japanese people, as well as the people of the Islamic world. Care to tell us what else you’re going to do in the future?


I’m a citizen of Tokyo.
Give my taxes back!
I don’t give a damn about the Olympic bid and all that nonsense.
That’s just a performance for you lot.
Return my taxes!
And never use them again!


Perhaps he just can’t shake how it felt to be a critic. When you become a public figure, you have to take such care with your remarks.


I don’t particularly feel that the Olympics has to be in Japan, but it’s such a pity that he’s given Turkey, which is a close friend of ours, a bad image of Japan.


Same thing with Ishihara, but authors just aren’t suited to becoming politicians.
They tend to prattle on trivially about a philosophy you have no desire to hear and have not asked to hear about.
I guess we can also say that the people in Tokyo who selected and voted for this bastard also have problems.


I just saw the mayor’s remarks on the news, and the line of reasoning is awful — he says that if you’re unlucky a passing remark can be taken as a discriminatory one. If that’s a justifiable excuse, then Tokyo’s future is dark.


This is a really abominable outcome.


I’m not from Tokyo, but return any of my money that you’ve used.


It was the New York Times, too! He needs to be on high-alert and not make any remarks www


It’s because he’s a fool.

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