Wednesday, July 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

Gold medalist China's Xu Jiayu (centre) stands with silver medalist Russia's Evgeny Rylov (left) and bronze medalist Australia's Mitchell Larkin following the men's 100m backstroke final at the World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea on Tuesday.

Gold medalist China's Xu Jiayu (centre) stands with silver medalist Russia's Evgeny Rylov (left) and bronze medalist Australia's Mitchell Larkin following the men's 100m backstroke final at the World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea on Tuesday.

Gareth Bale will not leave Real Madrid on a 'makeshift' loan deal

Gareth Bale will not leave Real Madrid on a 'makeshift' loan deal

Gareth Bale will not be leaving Real Madrid on loan this summer, his agent Jonathan Barnett has told Sky Sports News.The 30-year-old has fallen out of favour at the Bernabeu

Peaty, Hosszu extend dominance at World Swim Championships

Peaty, Hosszu extend dominance at World Swim Championships

AP, Gwangju :Adam Peaty became the first man to win a third 100-meter breaststroke title at the World Swimming Championships on Monday night. Katinka Hosszu of Hungary also added more

Secretary General of Bangladesh Olympic Association Syed Shahed Reza being introduced with the participants of the RDDL National Junior (Boys' & Girls') Wrestling Competition at the Shaheed (Captain) M Mansur Ali National Handball Competition on Tuesday.

Secretary General of Bangladesh Olympic Association Syed Shahed Reza being introduced with the participants of the RDDL National Junior (Boys' & Girls') Wrestling Competition at the Shaheed (Captain) M Mansur Ali National Handball Competition on Tuesday.

Inna Deriglazova, Anastasiia Ivanova, Larisa Korobeynikova and Adelina Zagidullina of Russia celebrate with their gold medals after they defeated Italy in the final of women's foil team competition of the FIE World        Fencing Championships in Budapest, Hungary on Monday.

Inna Deriglazova, Anastasiia Ivanova, Larisa Korobeynikova and Adelina Zagidullina of Russia celebrate with their gold medals after they defeated Italy in the final of women's foil team competition of the FIE World Fencing Championships in Budapest, Hungary on Monday.

Tokyo 2020 comes too early for karate kid's Olympic dream

Tokyo 2020 comes too early for karate kid's Olympic dream

AFP, Nagaoka :Sweat pours off Mahiro Takano as the 13-year-old karate black belt trades blows with a grown man almost twice her size, finishing with a blood-curdling roar, then a

New Zealand's players celebrate after winning the Netball World Cup final match against Australia at M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, England on Sunday.

New Zealand's players celebrate after winning the Netball World Cup final match against Australia at M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, England on Sunday.

China's Xie Zhenye breaks Asian men's 200m record in London

China's Xie Zhenye broke the Asian men's 200 meters record as he won the title at the IAAF Diamond League here on Sunday. Xie, who won the event at the

Lowry weathers storm to win British Open and first major

Lowry weathers storm to win British Open and first major

Ireland's Shane Lowry withstood howling wind and rain to win his first major at the British Open by six shots from Tommy Fleetwood on Sunday, describing the achievement as "an

The pack with France's Julian Alaphilippe wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey rides during the fifteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 185 kilometers (114,95 miles) with start in Limoux and finish in Prat d'Albis, France on Sunday.

The pack with France's Julian Alaphilippe wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey rides during the fifteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 185 kilometers (114,95 miles) with start in Limoux and finish in Prat d'Albis, France on Sunday.