Wednesday, April 24, 2019 | ePaper

Japan names new Olympics minister after gaffes

  • Print




Japan on Thursday appointed a new Olympics minister to replace a gaffe-prone politician forced to step down after the latest in a string of embarrassing mis-steps.
With less than 500 days to go until the opening ceremony, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters he had re-appointed the "experienced" Shunichi Suzuki, who had already served as Olympics minister between 2017-2018.
"I hope Mr Suzuki... will recover trust (among the public) and lead us towards a successful Olympic and Paralympic Games," Abe told reporters.
Suzuki's appointment came after his predecessor Yoshitaka Sakurada quit late Wednesday after comments seen as disrespectful to survivors of the 2011 tsunami.
He reportedly told a political gathering that securing the re-election of a local lawmaker was more important than recovery in the area hit by the quake-triggered tsunami and nuclear meltdown that claimed more than 18,000 lives.
More than 50,000 people have not returned to their home towns following the disaster, and Japan has dubbed the 2020 Games the "Reconstruction Olympics" in a bid to showcase recovery in affected regions. "We regret the news that in the midst of accelerating preparations and with less than 500 days to go until the Tokyo 2020 Games, the minister responsible for the Games has resigned," Tokyo 2020 organisers said in a statement.
"Contribution to the reconstruction effort of disaster-hit areas is a main focus of Tokyo 2020, and we will continue our efforts to prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Games... with the key aim of helping to re-strengthen those areas," added organisers.
Suzuki on Thursday said Sakurada's comments were "inappropriate" and vowed to push forward with the reconstruction of disaster-hit areas.
Sakurada's comments were the latest in a series of controversial statements that raised questions about his suitability to steer the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
He also held the cybersecurity portfolio and became a laughing stock after he admitted he "does not use computers."
In February, he was forced to apologise after suggesting that the leukaemia diagnosis of star Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee could dampen enthusiasm for the Games.
The shock announcement of 18-year-old Ikee's diagnosis had prompted an outpouring of support in Japan, but Sakurada came under fire after responding to the news by saying: "She is a potential gold medallist... I'm really disappointed."

More News For this Category

(From left to right) Jung Hyelim of South Korea, Masumi Aoki of Japan, Manevanh Chanthavong of Laos compete during the women's 100m Hurdles round 1 at the Asian Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar on Tuesday.

(From left to right) Jung Hyelim of South Korea, Masumi Aoki of Japan, Manevanh Chanthavong of Laos compete during the women's 100m Hurdles round 1 at the Asian Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar on Tuesday.

Masataka Morizono (left) and Mima Ito of Japan play against Kutbidillo Teshaboev and Rozalina Khadijev of Uzbekistan during their mixed doubles qualifying match of the World Table Tennis Championships in Budapest,       Hungary on Monday.

Masataka Morizono (left) and Mima Ito of Japan play against Kutbidillo Teshaboev and Rozalina Khadijev of Uzbekistan during their mixed doubles qualifying match of the World Table Tennis Championships in Budapest, Hungary on Monday.

Nadal to face 63rd-ranked Mayer in Barcelona Open

Nadal to face 63rd-ranked Mayer in Barcelona Open

AP, Barcelona :Defending champion Rafael Nadal will face Leonardo Mayer in his first match at the Barcelona Open.Mayer defeated Marius Copil 6-3, 6-7 (3), 7-5 in the first round on

National Youth handball begins Thursday

The 4th Marcel National Youth (men's) handball competition begins from Thursday (April 25) at Shaheed Captain M Mansur Ali Handball Stadium in the city.A total of 12 district teams will

Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) defends against Utah Jazz guard    Donovan Mitchell (center left) in the first half during Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series in Salt Lake City on Monday.

Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) defends against Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (center left) in the first half during Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series in Salt Lake City on Monday.

Houston, Chengdu to host World Table Tennis Championships

Houston, Chengdu to host World Table Tennis Championships

Houston will host the 2021 World Table Tennis Championships, the first staged outside Europe or Asia since 1939, with Chengdu, China to follow in 2022, the International Table Tennis Federation

'Shattered': Lankan cricketer recounts church bombing horror

AFP, Sri Lanka :Sri Lankan cricketer Dasun Shanaka barely survived one of the deadly blasts that killed more than 320 people in the island nation on Easter Sunday, and says

Defence the key to Arsenal's top-four bid

Unai Emery is faced with a defensive dilemma that could make or break Arsenal's hopes of a top-four finish to their Premier League campaign.The Gunners travel to Wolves on Wednesday

(From left) China's Liang Xiaojing, Kazakhstan's Olga Safronova and China's Wei Yongli display their silver, gold and bronze medals                    respectively for the women's 100-meters race at the Asian Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar on Monday.

(From left) China's Liang Xiaojing, Kazakhstan's Olga Safronova and China's Wei Yongli display their silver, gold and bronze medals respectively for the women's 100-meters race at the Asian Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar on Monday.

Australia beat Belarus 3-2 to face France in Fed Cup final

Australia beat Belarus 3-2 to face France in Fed Cup final

AP, Australia :Australia advanced to the Fed Cup final for the first time in more than a quarter century after Ashleigh Barty and Samantha Stosur beat Aryna Sabalenka and Victoria