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Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso Photo: REUTERS file
politics

Aso calls Tokyo 2020 the 'cursed Olympics'

40 Comments
By Chang-Ran Kim

First, the cancellation in 1940. Then, the mass boycott in Moscow in 1980.

Forty years on, the upcoming Tokyo Games are the "cursed Olympics" once again, Japan's finance minister said, in remarks that could stir controversy at a time when his government is scrambling to quash speculation that the coronavirus epidemic could derail the world's biggest sporting event this year.

"It's a problem that's happened every 40 years - it's the cursed Olympics - and that's a fact," Taro Aso, who also serves as deputy prime minister, said in a parliamentary committee on Wednesday.

Japan had won the bid to host the Summer and Winter Olympics in 1940 - in Tokyo and Sapporo, respectively - but both Games were cancelled due to the World War II.

A close ally of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and a former prime minister himself, Aso is known for his staying power despite his penchant for gaffes that have insulted people, including doctors, women and Alzheimer's patients, over the decades.

Abe has staked his legacy as the longest-serving Japanese leader on staging a successful Games and bringing a massive jolt - estimated at $2.3 billion - to the stagnant economy with tourism and consumer spending.

But every passing day of the new coronavirus pandemic has brought more calls for a rethink of this year's Games, scheduled to open on July 24.

The International Olympic Committee, along with Tokyo's organizing committee and Japanese government, has said it is not considering a cancellation or postponement, even as other major events have been postponed, including, on Tuesday, soccer's Euro 2020 and Copa America.

The new coronavirus has so far killed more than 8,200 people and infected more than 200,000, with the epicenter now in Europe. Japan saw 40 new infections on Wednesday.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2020.

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40 Comments
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"It's a problem that's happened every 40 years - it's the cursed Olympics - and that's a fact," Taro Aso, who also serves as deputy prime minister, said in a parliamentary committee on Wednesday.

So break the curse and have the Olympics in 2021, problem solved! Aso didnt just say this either, as I will bet his buddy Abe told him to float the balloon of postponing the Olympics for a year!

21 ( +24 / -3 )

Aasoodesuka Aso San

Is that a fact as well? The Brazil Olympics had the Zika Virus.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Aso calls Tokyo 2020 the 'cursed Olympics'

Why bid to host in the first place?

23 ( +26 / -3 )

Aso is proof of how far in life truly stupid people can go if they are rich enough.

31 ( +34 / -3 )

All the more reason to postpone it. If this goes through, it will be one the worst Olympics ever with very low turn out and there will be no do overs. Postpone it till next year and Japan can finally have a decent summer Olympics.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Aso can do arithmetics ! He didn't pass any tests of elementary school levels, yet his intuition is incredible.

-5 ( +9 / -14 )

Gross error by GOB Aso. There could also be a natural disaster like a powerful earthquake and there are plans for that if it should happen. Postpone until 2021.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

The guy is 79 years old and not one gray hair on his head. How is that possible? :D

13 ( +18 / -5 )

The guy is 79 years old and not one gray hair on his head. How is that possible?

Dye

20 ( +22 / -2 )

Aso is known for his staying power despite his penchant for gaffes that have insulted people, including doctors, women and Alzheimer's patients, over the decades.

He's done ALOT more than that...

In 2001, as economics minister, he was quoted as saying he wanted to make Japan a country where "rich Jews" would like to live.[31]

On 15 October 2005, during the opening ceremony of the Kyushu National Museum which also displays how other Asian cultures have influenced Japanese cultural heritage, he praised Japan for having "one culture, one civilization, one language, and one ethnic group", and stated that it was the only such country in the world.[32]

At a lecture in Nagasaki Prefecture, Asō referred to a Japanese peace initiative on the Middle East, stating, "The Japanese were trusted because they had never been involved in exploitation there, or been involved in fights or fired machine guns. Japan is doing what the Americans can't do. It would probably be no good to have blue eyes and blond hair. Luckily, we Japanese have yellow faces."[31]

4 February 2006, "our predecessors did a good thing" regarding compulsory education implemented during Japan's colonization of Taiwan.[33]

On 21 December 2005, he said China was "a neighbour with one billion people equipped with nuclear bombs and has expanded its military outlays by double digits for 17 years in a row, and it is unclear as to what this is being used for. It is beginning to be a considerable threat".[34] On 28 January 2006, he called for the emperor to visit the controversial Yasukuni shrine. He later backtracked on the comment, but stated that he hoped such a visit would be possible in the future.[35]

*Mainichi Daily News*** reported that on 9 March 2006 he referred to Taiwan as a "law-abiding country", which drew strong protest from Beijing, which considers the island a part of China.[36]**

On 23 September 2008, **Akahata, the daily newspaper published by Japanese Communist Party released a compiled list of these and other statements as the front-page article criticizing Asō.[37] This compilation as well as similar lists of blunders have been frequently cited in the Japanese media.**

*Yahoo! News*** reported that he had said on 9 January 2009, "To work is good. It's completely different thinking from the Old Testament."[38]**

While speaking at a meeting of the National Council on Social Security Reform, in 2013, Asō referred to patients suffering from serious illness as "tube persons" and remarked that they should be "allowed to die quickly" if they desired it. "Heaven forbid I should be kept alive if I want to die", he is quoted as saying. "You cannot sleep well when you think it's all paid by the government. This won't be solved unless you let them hurry up and die."[39]

In 2014, while campaigning in Sapporo for the general election, Asō said that rising social welfare costs were not solely due to an aging population. He said, "There are many people who are creating the image that (the increasing number of) elderly people is bad, but more problematic is people who don't give birth",. The comment was labeled as insensitive to those who are not able to have children for biological or economic reasons.[40]

*The Guardian*** reported on 30 August 2017, that he said, "Hitler, who killed millions of people, was no good even if his motive was right." **

Aso caused a stir in June 2018 when he boasted that the large support towards the LDP among voters under 35 in the 2017 general election was due to the demographics being illiterate about the news and current affairs.

In May 2018, Aso downplayed alleged sexual harassment charges against his ministry's top bureaucrat by saying that “there is no such thing as a sexual harassment charge”.[43] When asked to comment on a formal complaint submitted to his ministry on the alleged sexual harassment, Aso-san's remarked that his “only thought was that it would have been easier to read if they used a bigger font”

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Aly there are more. But the list is so huge can't post them. He is the biggest money donator to the LDP and Nippon Kaigi and is therefore untouchable. The guy can hardly read boasts he only reads Manga. And he was a PM and now finance Minister the bar is set very low for Japanese Politicians.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

One of my personal favourite quotes, old people should hurry up and die (ironic) and smoking hasn't killed me so it's ok.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

For once I agree with him. The first domino fell by putting that guy Mori in charge.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I have never liked this man's mouth .

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Anything that spews from this mans filthy mouth deserves to end up in a toilet

8 ( +10 / -2 )

If this Tokyo 2020 Olympics happens as it's scheduled, at least one big problem they had anticipated won't occur...lack of hotel rooms.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The LDP and IOC pretty much made sure the Olympics were "cursed" from the beginning when it started with a BRIBE!

7 ( +9 / -2 )

And just to disapprove Aso even more, how about the 1900 Olympics? I don’t recall there being any controversy with the 1900 Olympics. And yes, there was a 1900 Olympics, look it up for yourself.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

How could it be otherwise - a bunch of cloven-hoofed grifters were in charge.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

From above:  "The LDP and IOC pretty much made sure the Olympics were 'cursed' from the beginning when it started with a BRIBE!"

It is tempting to go Old Testament and blame the Heavens for this Olympic mega-disaster. But, no, it was bad luck, only bad luck, and not the worst luck that has befallen thousands of innocent people. This is not the time to gloat. This Is a time of great sorrow. But not for the Olympics. To hell with saving the Olympics. Save the people.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

*"It's a problem that's happened every 40 years - it's the cursed Olympics - and that's a fact," Taro Aso, who also serves as deputy prime minister, said in a parliamentary committee on Wednesday.*

Is this how Japanese ruling party gathers facts for decision making?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It’s understandable he has little concern or idea about this bout of corona virus. He is busy looking for a cure for his own chronic illness - foot in mouth disease.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

We all know Aso is the one pulling the strings. He's like the Godfather of the LDP.

So they were hoping for a 2.3 boost to come into the economy. That there is your answer as to why they are so desperate to make sure the Games go ahead.

But now it is beginning to backfire isn't it? They will likely lose the 2.3 big ones and as well, it looks like they are going to resort to printing money and give every person in Japan up to 50,000 yen (500 US) in cash to prop up the economy.

This is going to ruin the Japanese economy even more.

Aso, what were you thinking ?? The top-down Mafia approach doesn't always work.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Aso is an entitled berk who regularly embarrasses Japan, but he's not wrong here. The more people make negative comments about the Olympics, however phrased, the easier it will be to postpone or cancel and to do so sooner rather than later. That's Trump, Aso, and several IOC members now. The unthinkable is becoming ever more thinkable.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Why does this report not quote Aso properly? He also said that the Games going ahead wasn't Japan's decision, if other countries do not send athletes the Games can't happen.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Luddite

That's also true. The Boss can't FORCE them to come, can he?

But then that's not what the article is about, is it?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Do the Hustle !

funny stuff! hahahahaha

and spot on!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Entertaining!

The comments are far more interesting than the article.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Aso is a national treasure.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Because he is involved.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

An international embarrassment.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Tora

it looks like they are going to resort to printing money and give every person in Japan

I just watched a news report in which Aso admitted that this measure didn't work last time.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

No 2020 olympic. thats is it, imagine have such huge amt of people when japan do not even have their masks problems & hospital beds problems sloved ???.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

As long as cement thrives there will be these kind of oldies in local politics.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If it's a "fact," who would be stupid enough to put in a bid?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It’s understandable he has little concern or idea about this bout of corona virus. He is busy looking for a cure for his own chronic illness - foot in mouth disease.

OMG LOL, and I thought that I was the only one that would’ve thought to come up with that phrase, “foot in mouth disease”. Yeah, that was a good one @do_the_hustle

and seriously, between that and what the Tokyo governor was saying about the northern territories, they should be more focused on themselves, rather than trying to come up with excuses for why they should have the Olympics, the way they want it at least.

I mean, I still say that it’s a bit too early to say that the Olympic should be canceled, there’s still four months left and all, but the more I see and hear comments like this, the more I wonder or not it should be saved.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ganbate Japan

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Please go back to your daily nap during diet ( from start to finish as usual ) , and please keep it shut.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Aso is a fool that only cares about making his friends richer

2 ( +2 / -0 )

That bent smirk on his face is really getting on my nerves.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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