Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga Photo: AP
politics

Suga regrets having to take all the heat for hosting Olympics during pandemic

53 Comments
By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Junko Fujita

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Wednesday he regretted having to take all the flak for holding the Summer Olympics during a pandemic as his government was reported to favor allowing domestic spectators into stadiums to watch.

Tokyo 2020, already postponed by a year, has faced strong opposition from the public, medical experts and some former athletes amid a fourth wave of infections.

Suga's comments appeared to illustrate tensions bubbling to the surface as the government bolsters its assurances to the world that the Games will be safe when they start on July 23.

He was speaking in response to comments at a Diet session from an opposition lawmaker, who said the prime minister had been coming under attack over holding the Games during the COVID-19 pandemic when the host city governor, Yuriko Koike, should be weighing in.

"I'm very glad you said what I want to say," Suga replied. "Even though I tried to make that point, Diet discussions conclude that all the responsibilities should be taken by the prime minister.

"I am not trying to run away from my responsibilities, but I feel it is regrettable that this is the direction of the debate in the Diet."

Koike was not immediately available for comment.

Government officials and Olympics organizers are in favor of holding the Games with local spectators as COVID-19 vaccines are rolled out and case numbers decline, the Asahi newspaper reported, without citing sources.

The prime minister's office declined to comment.

Popular Japanese singer Yuzo Kayama became the latest celebrity withdrawing from the Olympics torch relay, saying he was not happy about holding the Games given current conditions around the world, Kyodo news reported

Meanwhile, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne on Wednesday said some athletes she has met are "so excited to be able to participate in the Games" despite some of the most difficult circumstances ever seen for a modern Olympics.

© Thomson Reuters 2021.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

53 Comments
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Translation error? He had the choice to defer to Koike? But chose to take all the heat and regrets it?

Unless the weren't on the same page and disputed, they would be on the same team taking the same heat.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

If you don't like the heat, Suga-san, get out of the kitchen.

What did you think the job was, if not to take responsibilities?

32 ( +34 / -2 )

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Wednesday he regretted having to take all the flak for holding the Summer Olympics during a pandemic as his government was reported to favor allowing domestic spectators into stadiums to watch.

All of you on the hook to pay for a COVID-tainted Olympic exercise of hubris and profit for a select few, won't you think of poor Suga's feelings for a moment when you criticize leaders so harshly? It's the least you can do after he finishes a long, hard day of his duties to go to his favorite steak house in Ginza.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

Suga took on the job as leader and now is complaining he must lead. There are many expletives that can be used to describe this guy.

29 ( +32 / -3 )

Of course that has a very simple solution that would make most of the population breath at ease and improve his falling popularity, unfortunately that would mean betraying the powerful back up that made him prime minister so that is of course out of the question.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Maybe if showed a little backbone and did something he wouldn't be under so much criticism.

Everything since he took over has been down at a snail pace. Every decision wishy-washy with very little indication he represents the people esp against the wishes of the IOC.

Continuation of the ban on permanent foreign residents coming back into Japan from India and other high contagion countries etc. Just a continuation of the BS that Abe set in place.

Do something, bonehead and you won't have to "regret" all the anger flying your way.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

He has never had to take responsibility his whole life, it’s obviously in his twilight years a bit of a shock.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

Should ave grown some balls and canceled it!!!

10 ( +13 / -3 )

It’s so regrettable

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Sort of agree with the previous posts but, still, I am wondering where Koike has been lately.

Has she made any official statement related to the Games or Covid in the last 2 or 3 weeks? Last thing I remember from her was the announcement of a panda's possible pregnancy.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

PimToday 08:05 am JST

Sort of agree with the previous posts but, still, I am wondering where Koike has been lately.

She did exactly the same thing in February and March last year, disappeared entirely for about six weeks then miraculously reappeared the day after the Olympics were canceled.

22 ( +23 / -1 )

Are we sure he is the Prime Minister?

12 ( +13 / -1 )

AFAIK, Koike can't ban people from entering the country. If Suga would ban anyone connected with the Olympics, they would in effect be cancelled. So that's why he has to take the heat.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Suga regrets having to take all the heat for hosting Olympics during pandemic

You can talk to your buddy Abe about that one.

By the way, Sugi-Baby, I’ll let you in on a little secret……

just find some scapegoats, and people will forget all about the crap you’ve done, go for it!

Good luck at the next elections!!!

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Bake

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

when the host city governor, Yuriko Koike, should be weighing in.

> Koike was not immediately available for comment.

Welcome to everyone’s least favorite game, but they all do it anyway, “PASS THE BUCK!”

This is the game show where no one takes any responsibility when things are bad, but somehow always takes the credit when things go well.

Generally we have people that go AWOL for weeks or months at a time, but you know they’ll be blatantly seen, once things start to get better!!!

Suga and Koike, come on down!!!!!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Should we care about his feelings ?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Huh? You are responsabile, you have the power to cancel the Olymics but you didn't

7 ( +10 / -3 )

That’s the assist of the century by an “ opposition “ member. Of course Suga could not have a member of his own party ask the Koike question. That would be to transparent even for the Japanese public. Koike will not be amused

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Talk about disappearances, Kono San has been near invisible,

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Who is Koike? Is that a invisible lady?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Translation error? He had the choice to defer to Koike? But chose to take all the heat and regrets it?

Unless the weren't on the same page and disputed, they would be on the same team taking the same heat.

I think what he is referring to is the fact that these are the "Tokyo" Olympics, not the "Japan" Olympics. Koike is the governor of Tokyo, which is the actual entity that is hosting the games and most decisions about it are actually supposed to be made by her government, not the Japanese Central Government which he is the head of.

Yet despite this he is the one taking most of the flak.

He isn't entirely wrong on that count. Actually the person who should really be taking most of the flak isn't even Koike, its Shintaro Ishihara, the former governor of Tokyo who signed Tokyo up for these stupid games in the first place. He walked off into retirement and left everyone else to clean up his mess for him.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

He really has a thin skin but Abe said Japan wanted the Olympics in 2021 even though Bach said 2022 was possible. Suga ia on the hook.

Suga is gambling it can go well. It may not.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

But I doubt he regrets DESERVING all the flak.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Suga regrets having to take all the heat for hosting Olympics during pandemic

Doesn't make sense. How can you regret something which someone else is doing? He can regret being slow and incompetent. But it is not up to him to regret if the public is angry with him. Is this typical Japanese-speak of 'shut up'?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The problem is more complicated than blaming one man. I love how Japan seems to simplify every problem in life. I see this in the workplace also. Never see reality or get to root problems. Always blaming people "Nani-Nani-san wa damenano!"

But hey, its why alot of us have jobs here in Japan and get paid to solve these problems, and not just finger point!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

On this, Suga is quite correct. The contract is between the IOC on one side and the City of Tokyo and the Japanese Olympic Committee on the other side. The latter is a non-profit organisation that selects teams and raises funds to send Japanese competitors to Olympic events organised by the International Olympic Committee. CT were represented by Naoki Inose, and JOC by Tsunekazu Takeda, who resigned over allegations of corruption.

The budget comprises two main elements – the “OCOG” budget, which is the responsibility of Tokyo 2020 (Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) and the “Other Entities” budget, covering expenditure by Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Japanese Government. The latter includes investment in sporting facilities and other social infrastructure aligned with Tokyo's hosting of the Games which will continue to benefit the city well beyond 2020. v2 of the budget was OCOG JPY 600 billion and the Other Entities JPY 750 billion, though some audits indicate the real figures are more than double these sums.

A very complicated web of costs and payments, making it hard to ascertain the real sum involved, and very easy to manipulate.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

You regret actions, you regret behavior, you regret decisions-

Do you see a pattern here?

Taking action may earn regret.

To be the recipient of blame is a whole nutha smoke, Suga.

And through your lack of decisive action, you have earned it.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

ooo ooo was it regretable??

it was regrettable

nice!

did they respond to comments?

Koike was not immediately available for comment.

The prime minister's office declined to comment.

The gold silver and bronze of responses

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Stop your damn whining you baby.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Should have started vaccinating way back then. Things would be a lot different now.

As a side not, I think he'll get out of this mess scot free!! Yikes!!!!!!!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Bohoohoooo,let us all cry..,mama..tasukete....bohoohoo!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

This whole Olympic fiasco has revealed how weak the government is in relation to the IOC, and how the PM and mayor are seen as lapdogs to them. They could have taken a stronger position critical of the IOC's determination to pocket as much money as they can at the expense of the health of Japan's population, but they didn't. And there's probably going to be some blowback after the smoke has cleared.

Then there's this wording "regrettable". What's regrettable is that there are so many better words to translate "zannen", like remorse, grief, contrite, disappointed, repentant, shame, dismay, lament, guilt, sorrow. Any of these words would be less awkward in the headline.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Simply take actions to cancel these cursed games if you are not competent to insure safe conditions. You will not insure safe conditions whatever you say as long as you are not tackling the real problem here. You and your government are indeed incompetent.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

He is the Prime Minster of Japan and that is his job. Are we supposed to feel sorry for him?

He was always way out of his depth in this role and has created a huge mess.

Good riddance when election time comes.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Suga set up as the fall guy, all along. Koike unavailable for comment.

The paralysis of many of the efforts to combat the pandemic and deal with the curveballs thrown by it are most likely down to good old-fashioned political one-upmanship and infighting. Hard to make the necessary moves in a top-down system, when the tops can't work together in a crisis. All while the patient populace looks on in tired resignation, for they expect nor can imagine anything else. Yay factionalism.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Playing good cop/bad cop.

He is the PM, as Truman said, " The buck stops here." He ultimately bears responsibility for what happens, good or bad.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

In explaining their motives for persevering in the face of opposition from the Japanese public, health experts and even a member of the Japanese Olympic Committee, IOC officials have avoided any mention of the irrepressible force driving the Games towards their 23 July opening date.

The IOC and organisers stand to lose billions of dollars if Tokyo 2020 falls victim to the coronavirus for a second time. Japan has officially spent $15.4bn on the Olympics, although government audits suggest the real figure is much higher. All but $6.7bn has come from Japanese taxpayers. The cost of cancellation to Japanese organisers could reach ¥1.8tn yen ($16bn), according to a recent study by Takahide Kiuchi, an economist at Nomura Research Institute. But that could pale in comparison to the damages the Games could inflict on the world’s third-biggest economy if they turned into a super-spreader event and forced Japan to declare another coronavirus state of emergency, Kiuchi said. Organisers would have to reimburse Japanese sponsors, which have invested a record $3.3bn in the event, on top of the estimated $800m they have already forfeited in ticket sales due to the ban on foreign spectators.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/jun/10/claims-could-run-into-billions-the-interests-at-stake-if-olympics-in-japan-were-cancelled

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Always, always when someone has to explain something in here, there is always だけど, but. So few people here are willing to face the problem and the consequences of their own decisions. Most of the time it ends up being blamed on someone else. Our government doesn't look like a group of professionals, but often like a kindergarten full of retirees who have no idea what's going on, have long since had no normal contact with the outside world, and just push random buttons and do whatever strikes their fancy.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The ultimate clown in this clown world...

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Forget about the Olympics. It is a big, big headache. Cancel it soon. A lot better than causing unpredictable confusions.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

PM Suga, you still don't get it.

The "heat" is for ignoring the urgent need for a rapid and well-organized vaccine rollout, instead of your singular focus on and continual promises for a "perfect" Olympics.

Your getting vaccinated and running off to the US for "Burgers with Biden" was insult to injury.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Wednesday he regretted having to take all the flak for holding the Summer Olympics during a pandemic

How about this for radical thinking then. DON'T HOLD THE OLYMPICS DURING A PANDEMIC!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

For all fear mongering panicked cowards out there, do you have any ideea how much human and financial effort was put into those Olimpic Games to be held by Japan? How much time, effort, resources is needed for such an event. Who are you Mr nobody to just request cancelation of a World Event, just because you are brainwashed by the media or whatever.

Stop being a shipple and think and study for yourselves!

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Suga regrets having to take all the heat "

All Japanese I ,ve spoken with seem to regret that inept Suga is a PM.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Well, Euro Dude, we are tax payers financing the mess for the most part. And who are you?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Cue the violin

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I guess a big part of the blame should also be placed on Abe.

He had the golden opportunity at the start of the pandemic to put measures in place / cancel the Olympics but nope... he just handballed it to the next person and is now living comfortably somewhere in his mansion.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Abe,Ishihara and Koike all suck.

As much as I don't like Suga I do feel a little sorry for him.

The aforementioned three are getting off scot free yet they caused most of this debacle.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

These are the Abe Olympics, with his former hatchet man and lieutenant, in charge. a man who was supposed to defer to others and merely keep the seat warm for the next PM. Instead he has grabbed the crown and his regime is one of ineptitude and failure. Yet he remains.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Mr.Suga is incredible. Always looking sweaty...nervously sweaty. Eyes (at rest) always off to a 45 degree angle looking for escape: dodging questions.

He's a child who has been placed in an adult role.

There absolutely needs to be an inquiry how someone so inept could fall into leadership of a country in a time of crises.

But who am I kidding? He will fall, all will be forgiven.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If Suga didn't want to " take heat" all he needed to do was appoint some stuffed shirt as figurehead to do it for him.

It' called delegation of responsibility. That way, when things go wrong you have a sacrificial goat to fire and end up looking like you're solving the problem,

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan's central government is not a party to the contract with the IOC.

The JOC and the city of Tokyo are.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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