Tokyo dodges IOC penalty for knocking Istanbul’s 2020 bid


The International Olympic Committee said Wednesday that Tokyo will not be penalized for Gov. Naoki Inose’s disparaging comments about Istanbul’s bid for the 2020 Olympics.

“We wrote to Tokyo 2020 to remind them of the rules of conduct and this concludes the matter,” an IOC spokesman said.

The IOC asks all bidders to “refrain from any act or comment likely to tarnish the image of a rival city or be prejudicial to it. Any comparison with other cities is strictly forbidden.”

In an interview dated Saturday in the New York Times, Inose painted Islamic countries like Turkey in a bad light.

“So, from time to time, like Brazil, I think it’s good to have a venue for the first time. But Islamic countries, the only thing they share in common is Allah and they are fighting with each other, and they have classes,” Inose was quoted as saying.

On Tuesday, Inose apologized and admitted his remarks were “inappropriate” — just a day after claiming his words had been taken out of context by the prominent U.S. daily.

Earlier Wednesday, Turkish sports minister Suat Kilic reportedly accepted Inose’s apology.

“We now wish for a friendly competition between the candidate cities abiding by the criteria established by the IOC,” Kilic was quoted as saying by The Associated Press.

“We place the utmost importance on the friendship and mutual respect between the peoples of Turkey and Japan that date back for centuries,” he said.

Tokyo, Istanbul and Madrid are vying for the right to host the 2020 Games. The winner will be announced Sept. 7 at the IOC assembly in Buenos Aires.

This is not the first warning Tokyo has gotten about criticizing rival bids. In the contest for the 2016 Games, eventually won by Rio de Janeiro, a Japanese diplomat questioned the point of entertaining a Brazilian bid when it had already been selected to host the World Cup soccer championships in 2014.

The IOC slapped Tokyo with a written warning for that remark.

  • PX

    LOL. Inose with his foot in his mouth, just like his predecessor Ishihara. Some things never change.

  • Spudator

    More foot-in-mouth antics from another cluelessly parochial Japanese politico. I wonder if Inose understands that Turkey, which he describes as an “Islamic country”, is a secular republic, not an Islamic theocracy. Probably not. Still, at least he can distinguish between Islamic gaijin and non-Islamic gaijin; so I suppose we should give him credit for being able to finesse his bigotry and not view him as a complete ignoramus.

    However, there really is something repugnant about the way Inose can look down his nose at the people of a republic whose founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, stands head and shoulders as an enlightened leader and statesman above the political hacks running modern Japan. But I guess Inose has never heard of Atatürk or the reforms he introduced. One has to wonder whether Inose knows anything at all about world political history and political systems.