Tokyo Olympic Chief Says Bid Chances Unhurt by Istanbul Remarks

Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose’s remarks about Istanbul, which is also vying to host the 2020 Olympics, won’t hurt the Japanese capital’s bid for the games, the president of Japan’s Olympic committee said.

The International Olympic Committee would take no action in connection with Inose’s remarks, in which he appeared critical of Turkey’s Islamic faith, said Tsunekazu Takeda, who is also president of Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic bid committee.

The IOC is deciding between finalists Tokyo, Istanbul and Madrid to host the 2020 Olympic Summer Games and will announce its decision on Sept. 7. Inose issued an apology on April 30 for remarks that appeared in a New York Times story three days earlier, saying the comments as printed didn’t reflect his “sincere thoughts.”

“The IOC has told us that this case is closed,” Takeda said today at a press conference in Tokyo. “There will be no problem anymore.”

In the April 27 New York Times article, the governor seemed to dismiss the notion that IOC members may want to grant the games to Istanbul in order to have them held for the first time in an Islamic country.

“Islamic countries, the only thing they share in common is Allah and they are fighting with each other, and they have classes,” Inose said, according to the Times.

Apology Letter

He later acknowledged in his letter of apology distributed by the 2020 bid’s press office that the IOC’s code of ethics prohibits prospective host countries from criticizing one another.

Takeda said during today’s press conference that Tokyo would be a successful host for the games in 2020, while refusing to answer any questions that called on him to compare the city to its rivals.

“We are totally focused on delivering the best possible games,” he said. “I can’t compare to tell you about the other candidate cities.”

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