POSTED: April 30th 2013

Tokyo 2020: Governor Inose publicly apologizes and the bid issues a statement

Governor Inose played tennis with Japan's three-time Paralympic wheelchair tennis gold medalist Shingo Kunieda for the IOC Evaluation Commission to show his passion for the bid / SFC
Governor Inose played tennis with Japan's three-time Paralympic wheelchair tennis gold medalist Shingo Kunieda for the IOC Evaluation Commission to show his passion for the bid / SFC

LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose has issued a public and formal apology over comments that were made in New York during his visit to the city to solidify his relations with Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Inose speaking out the New York Times made several remarks about bid rival Istanbul that created a crease in an otherwise relatively seamless bid. It is not the first time that a mayor has spoken out and brought undue negative tension in a highly political Olympic bid race, the Toronto mayor during the 2008 bid campaign made one insensitive remark about Africa and singlehandedly inflamed the African IOC members putting their precious votes of support in question. Beijing won that bid race.

During the 2012 Games campaign in 2007 where Paris and London were going head to head, then President Jacques Chirac criticized English cuisine and that rocked headlines. London won 2012.

The Tokyo 2020 bid opted to deal with the situation head on and issued the following statement from IOC Member and head of the Tokyo bid, Tsunekazu Takeda, and Governor Inose:

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 realise that some have questioned our strong commitment towards following the IOC rules.

"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."

Naoki Inose said: "In reference to Article 14 of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Code of Ethics, I wish to underline that I am fully committed to abiding by the rules established by the IOC.

"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."

Keywords · Tokyo 2020 · Naoki Inose · Olympic bidding

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Laura Walden ()

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