politics

Suga denies IOC pressure to hold Olympics: report

57 Comments

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has denied he was pressured by the International Olympic Committee into holding a Games that remains deeply unpopular as virus cases surge in Tokyo.

And with just days until the opening ceremony, the Japanese leader said Tokyo was "in the right place, and we're ready to go."

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the 72-year-old insisted he was "absolutely not" pushed into going ahead with the Games.

"We raised our hands and we sought the Olympics because we wanted to do it," he said in the interview published Wednesday. "If they tried to force something on me, I'd kick it right back at them."

Suga, who came to power last September, also insisted the Games could be held safely, saying infections in Tokyo remain comparatively low.

The Japanese capital, with some 14 million residents, has seen around 1,000 daily infections in recent days, far fewer than many major cities of a similar size.

On Wednesday, the Japanese capital recorded 1,832 daily cases, the highest figure since January, with medical experts pleading with the public to stay home, watch the Olympics on TV and avoid physical contact with others.

Suga told the Journal he had defied repeated counsel to cancel the event.

"The simplest thing and the easiest thing is to quit," he said. "But the government's job is to tackle challenges."

Games competition opened Wednesday, but the official opening ceremony comes on Friday, with events running until Aug 8.

They will be held mostly behind closed doors in an effort to reduce the risks of coronavirus spreading in the Japanese capital and other cities.

Suga stressed that infections in Tokyo remain relatively low and pointed to recent major sporting events, including Wimbledon and the Euro tournament, that took place before packed fans without masks despite tens of thousands of new daily infections.

"If you compare our number of infections to countries abroad, we have fewer by a whole order of magnitude," he said. "We've got vaccinations advancing, we're taking tough steps to prevent infections, and so my judgement is we're in the right place and we're ready to go."

Suga's government and Olympic organizers have faced public criticism for their insistence on hosting the event.

Approval ratings for Suga's government have dropped to just above 30 percent, and he faces a leadership race and general election after the Games.

© 2021 AFP

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

57 Comments
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"If you compare our number of infections to countries abroad, we have fewer by a whole order of magnitude,"

This is largely down to your testing being several orders of magnitude lower.

25 ( +26 / -1 )

Seems a worldwide problem with politicians always telling lies.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

"And with just days until the opening ceremony, the Japanese leader said Tokyo was "in the right place, and we're ready to go."

I don't think Suga has any clue what's going on. He's like a lost grandpa in the supermarket not knowing why he's even there.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

-"We've got vaccinations advancing,

Domestic vaccine efforts were a disaster

Distribution of tested, imported vaccines were delayed

These vaccines were then hoarded leading to shortages for regular people

Suga's Olympics are a complete failure

16 ( +17 / -1 )

Suga even lies about lying:

“the Japanese leader said Tokyo was "in the right place, and we're ready to go." -

“But the government's job is to tackle challenges."

“If you compare our number of infections to countries abroad, we have fewer by a whole order of magnitude," he said.

-"We've got vaccinations advancing,

we're taking tough steps to prevent infections,

… and so my judgement is we're in the right place and we're ready to go."

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Suga told the Journal he had defied repeated counsel to cancel the event.

"The simplest thing and the easiest thing is to quit," he said. "But the government's job is to tackle challenges."

What about challenges like the vaccination of the population? Oh yeas, priorities...

Leader Suga looks like a muppet with Kermit's hand up his backside. Even for LDP leadership standards that's a rare sight.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

"If they tried to force something on me, I'd kick it right back at them."

Sure, and you did not sir.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

I am on Guam, visiting my little boy and he is staying here until the virus is under control. Moving on, I saw on the American news that their is talk of canceling the Olympics as there is now 55 people among athletes and trainers with the COVID. What a mess the IOC and Suga, along with all the other countries who sent their athletes into harm way, created.

On a different note but same subject, when I was at Narita Airport the other day on the departure level there was one of the staff arguing with 2 Olympian athletes it was clear. The staff member was dressed in all the COVID garb and arguing with these 2 men to return to their group and these 2 men just look like they wanted to take flight. I stood watching all of this and listening of course, the woman was none to happy and the men were not happy I am sure being caught. Yes, there is complete control over these athletes, ahhh..........not.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

"it's all down to me" Suga declared. (⌒▽⌒)

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Again classic way of PR to show the good face of Japan - look here how great we are….

He can do such blatant lying freely knowing that even if its not him but LDP has a firm grip on winning upcoming elections - this all come down to Japanese people for thier lack of participation in democracy - as they say you deserve who you vote for.

Non Japanese residents here can only hope this time the Japanese would wake up from their slumber and participate more actively during election and show the door to LDP and Suga for all their inept actions, responses which has only prolonged the misery of normal residents ….

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Now this one is a true “coffee spitter”

Who believes this and why is a Japanese Prime Minister covering for and bowing to the whims of a foreign organization (IOC) over the citizens of Japan

It truly looks like Suga despises the Japanese public …. so out of touch

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Anyone remember this headline from a few months ago?

“Suga says he has never put Olympics first and that IOC has final say”

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Suga stressed that infections in Tokyo remain relatively low

Great! Then why is there a SOE?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

 "But the government's job is to tackle challenges."

And pray tell, you had a larger challenge to "tackle" in getting the people vaccinated, so you wouldnt have to worry so much about the pandemic during the games, and you utterly failed!

Just like your predecessor, you have failed in all the "challenges" you faced, and now you will lose your job as well!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

In other words, they forced him to say that they don’t force? lol

5 ( +5 / -0 )

"We raised our hands and we sought the Olympics because we wanted to do it,"

What does he mean by "we"?

It is at least not the Japanese citizens but the government clowns.

Plus, we all know that he is lying

5 ( +5 / -0 )

"We raised our hands and we sought the Olympics because we wanted to do it," he said in the interview published Wednesday. "If they tried to force something on me, I'd kick it right back at them.

A sad, desperate attempt to save face from Suga. The IOC listens to NBC, Toyota, Panasonic, Coca Cola, Ali Baba, GE and Visa before you.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

What a pathetic comedian the sleepy farmer is...it was only until a few weeks ago he was repeatedly claiming the decision to proceed with the Olympics rested with IOC and J- govt had no say in the matter. Is there anything else apart from blatant lies that comes out of this jiji ,s mouth?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Hair weave?

Suga-san is up for reelection soon. Let's see what the voters say, or the 20% that can be bothered to vote, and excluding all tax paying foreigners. If he is reelected, then the Japanese people, the ones who voted and the ones that couldn't be bothered to vote get what they deserve. The real victims are the foreign residents who can't vote.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

There is absolutely no one believes a word you say!!! IOC got you by the balls and there was nothing you could do!!! You signed the contract with them that states that ONLY IOC can cancel the games! So saying you had no pressure is a lie! Lies on top of lies!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

ワクチンも進んで、感染対策を厳しくやってるので、環境はそろっている、準備はできていると、そういう判断をした。

I will try:

The vaccination programme is progressing, and we have been taking strict measures to stop the spread. I made the decision because we are well prepared and have everything in place to deal with Covid.

That's a good translation.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I think we are all missing the big picture. It’s not about people it’s about money. The IOC contract makes the J-Gov pay out excessively massive amounts if they cancel. Suga is simply attempting to avoid this instead of just telling the public what the bill will be if they don’t. It does however highlight the financial burdens the IOC places on countries and the power via that burden that they wield. I really think the world needs to take a closer look at these gangsters and either start something new of simply don’t bother hosting them. A better idea would be for all countries to turn around and charge them if they want to hold them in their country so that country can benefit and if there is a pandemic let the IOC sort that out…at their cost. Watch how quickly they will fall apart!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@dukeleto

Agree except for the "excessively massive" cancellation penalty. It was about $5bn = 0.1% of annual GDP. In other words, almost peanuts. And also very hypothetical. Official amount for postponement-related cost is $3bn already. So at country level, the money loss was symbolic. Of course, very different for a few individuals and companies.

Sorry if I sound like a broken record for regular readers here but this point, the relative weight of the hypothetical penalty, is almost never raised, even in respectable newspapers like the Post or the Guardian. Don't know why.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Ah, so then all his claims about "having no choice" and "it not being Japan's decision" are the usual lies. Well, until something goes awry over the next few days, if it happens. Then once again it won't have been his choice, or Japan's, but the IOC's pressure.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

He's lying.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

So he is making a scapegoat of...himself?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"If you compare our number of infections to countries abroad, we have fewer by a whole order of magnitude,"

Yeah sure,and couldn’t be that because of your extreme low tests compared to western countries?

Even the docile and manipulative people of his land are starting to question his statements.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Suga denies IOC pressure to hold Olympics...

He also has beachfront property in Afghanistan to sell!

The host-city contract is between the IOC and Tokyo City/ TOCOG/JOC, not the LDP, Suga or even Abe.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Wow, wow wow. Suga...

"We raised our hands and we sought the Olympics because we wanted to do it," he said in the interview published Wednesday. "If they tried to force something on me, I'd kick it right back at them."

"We"??

If this was actually true, you're admitting to neglecting the absurdity of forcing the Olympics at this time? How does that make you look as a leader?

"The simplest thing and the easiest thing is to quit," he said. "But the government's job is to tackle challenges."

No, you're supposed to work for the people. What kind of BS is this. Suga, you're an uncharismatic liar who doesn't care about the inhabitants in this country.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

the Japanese leader said Tokyo was "in the right place"

What was the original Japanese here, because this doesn't sound correct in English?

ワクチンも進んで、感染対策を厳しくやってるので、環境はそろっている、準備はできていると、そういう判断をした。

I will try:

The vaccination programme is progressing, and we have been taking strict measures to stop the spread. I made the decision because we are well prepared and have everything in place to deal with Covid.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sugu, humans are not soccer balls.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Is this Suga taking one for the team and blaming himself to save the LDP?

or is he just continuing to be an incompetent oaf?

Either way, he is clearly a liar with zero connection to the people he was chosen to lead and zero grip on reality.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So now Suga is saying it was his decision (since he’s the “leader”) and NOT the IOC?

So we blame him 100% for all this crap? Ok. So be it.

Wow, Sugi baby, how much can they possibly be paying you to take all the heat? The amount must be astronomical.

Were you promised a ride in space with that Japanese billionaire dude? Was that the prize?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What a tangled web we weave.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well, that's a lie.

And then there's this:

(T)he government's job is to tackle challenges.

The key word there is "tackle" NOT "poke someone else's finger into"

Overwhelming problems require overwhelming solutions, not overwhelmingly empty vows and pledges.

And lies.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Recorded Infections in Japan are 'low' because there is very little testing being done in Japan compared to most countries. Testing daily should be 10 times than the meagre testing is being done.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Tell me when we've triumphed over anything.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

From another article:

"The IOC sets the stage, they are all powerful and have no problem dictating terms to political leaders," Heenan said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "The fact that the head of the AOC said that he or she should attend is another indication of Olympic autocracy."

Heenan said it's the same reason why the Tokyo Olympics are going ahead despite record new cases of COVID-19 in Japan.

"They push aside public opinion in the middle of a pandemic," Heenan said. "It's only up to the IOC to cancel. All power rides with them."

And you say that you had NO pressure??? Hard to believe!!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

87 olympic linked case (+12 today)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What disturbs me the most is that, “Suga told the Journal he had defied repeated counsel to cancel the event.” Basically, he’s been ignoring doctors and epidemiologists (his trusted healthcare experts) to hold the games anyway.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

LIE, LIE, LIE !!!...

0 ( +3 / -3 )

the Japanese leader said Tokyo was "in the right place"

What was the original Japanese here, because this doesn't sound correct in English?

I don’t know offhand, but at a guess:

東京はIOCに賄賂をたくさん払った。

0 ( +1 / -1 )

....eww sounds like he got himself a new speech writer, he has gotten a tad spunky, still lying, but spunky.....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Suga is on a lose-lose. Hold the games or cancel he will lose his leadership of the LDP come the autumn and the party could lose the lower house election.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Your time has come Mr Suga.

Cansell = lives saved.

Continue = Infections & Death.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Suga-san is up for reelection soon. Let's see what the voters say, or the 20% that can be bothered to vote, and excluding all tax paying foreigners. If he is reelected, then the Japanese people, the ones who voted and the ones that couldn't be bothered to vote get what they deserve. The real victims are the foreign residents who can't vote.

Couldn't agree more.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"If they tried to force something on me, I'd kick it right back at them."

Yeah, right, whatever you say, Suga. We're sure you'd never let bully boys kick sand in your face. Let's take a quick look at how this bunch handle uppity politicians:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjWq7ol5oxw

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Then the decision was yours, Prime-minister suga.???

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And some more about pressure:

Japan is pushing ahead with the Olympics against the advice of most of its medical experts. This is partially due to pressure from the IOC, which is estimated to face losses of $3 billion to $4 billion in television rights income if the Games were not held.

How about that? No pressure, you say?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Huh. The man has no scruples. Let alone an ounce of dignity. He lords over a disaster without taking responsibility, excepting vapid rhetoric.

His bravado is as hollow as his person.

As for foreign residents who cannot vote. Foreigners cannot vote in your national elections. You are not a citizen of Japan and hence do not hold the rights of a citizen. You do have the right to vote and all other contingent privileges & rights in your home country. Yes, you pay taxes on money earned in Japan. This is where you work and it is a privilege not an entitlement to be allowed resident or alien status.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"The simplest thing and the easiest thing is to quit," he said. "But the government's job is to tackle challenges."

The government’s first job is to prioritize. The challenge Japan should be focused on is resolving COVID, not hosting a mega-sports event that distracts from solving COVID.

Regardless of how low Japan’s infections may be relative to other nations, Japan is still in a state of emergency and its healthcare system is under stress.

And he cannot compare other major sporting events held in other countries to the size and global magnitude of the Olympics, an event that pulls tens of thousands of athletic teams alone.

Finally, he continues to miss the point that the Olympics is not only a threat to Japan, but that Japan can pose a threat to the athletes, and that the event is a threat to the rest of the world as potentially infected athletes return home.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

OK, I may have found it. The Japanese edition of the WSJ is limited unless you pay, but the opening of the article includes the phrase

環境はそろっている。

(in context: ワクチンも進んで、感染対策を厳しくやってるので、環境はそろっている、準備はできていると、そういう判断をした。)

So I guess something like “the (Olympic) environment is all lined up”.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

JiJi Xx,

This is good,(⌒▽⌒)LOL

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

with medical experts pleading with the public to stay home, 

Probably the same idiotic experts like these WHO idiot, who also gave a totaly useless statement yesterday or the day before ( according an article here).

Probably the same idiotic experts who told us in the beginning, that wearing masks are not necessary.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

the Japanese leader said Tokyo was "in the right place"

What was the original Japanese here, because this doesn't sound correct in English?

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has denied he was pressured by the International Olympic Committee into holding a Games that remains deeply unpopular as virus cases surge in Tokyo.

There is no logical reason this wouldn't be true.

Japan was not a party to the contract with the IOC; the JOC and the city of Tokyo are.

So the IOC of course pressured Tokyo and the JOC, which in turn pressured the central government.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

"We raised our hands and we sought the Olympics because we wanted to do it," Suga said in the interview. "If they tried to force something on me, I'd kick it right back at them."

Taking ownership.

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

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