Tokyo 2020 Issues Statement On Governor's Comments

Tsunekazu Takeda, IOC Member and President of both the Japanese Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 and Governor of Tokyo, Naoki Inose, issued a statement Tuesday on remarks Inose made about rival candidate Istanbul and Islamic countries.

Takeda said, “our strong understanding towards abiding by the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) guidelines and our utmost respect for all Candidate Cities remain unchanged.

“We have noted Governor Inose’s comments in the article published by The New York Times on 27 April, and it is with regret we realize that some have questioned our strong commitment towards following the IOC rules”.

Inose reportedly said in the Times interview that “Islamic countries, the only thing they share in common is Allah and they are fighting with each other, and they have classes. For the athletes, where will be the best place to be? Well, compare the two countries where they have yet to build infrastructure, very sophisticated facilities”.

The International Olympic Committee is conducting an investigation on the remarks. Turkey’s sports minister said they were “unfair and disheartening” and “did not comply with the spirit of the values of the Olympic Movement”.

Takeda said, “Governor Inose completely understands the IOC rules. Although his sincere thoughts differ from the content of the story published, he acknowledges that his comments related to another bid city and religion may have conflicted with the IOC guidelines and, as a result, offered his profound apologies at a press briefing today.

“With the firm understanding all Candidate Cities bid in a spirit based on the Olympic Values of excellence, respect and friendship, we promise to reaffirm our utmost respect for the IOC guidelines.

“Our city’s desire to host the 2020 Games remains strong. We will continue to respect the IOC rules and give our all during the remainder of the bidding process”.

Inose said that he was fully committed to abiding by the rules established by the IOC adding, “at the interview I underscored Tokyo’s strengths as a city and its ability to provide the best platform for athletes, Olympic Family members and spectators alike. Unfortunately the article in question focused on a small number of comments relating to another bid city and therefore did not reflect my sincere and wider thoughts on the 2020 bid campaign.

“I regrettably acknowledge, however, that some of my words might be considered inappropriate and consequently would like to offer my sincere apology.

“My overwhelming passion and desire for Tokyo to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games remain strong. I look forward to the remainder of the bid campaign, where we will continue to enjoy a respectful and friendly rivalry with the other bid cities”.