Home Posts Bach, President Of The International Olympic Committee, Makes A Mistake And Refers To Japanese As "Chinese"
Bach, President Of The International Olympic Committee, Makes A Mistake And Refers To Japanese As "Chinese"
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Bach, President Of The International Olympic Committee, Makes A Mistake And Refers To Japanese As "Chinese"


TOKYO (AP) — IOC President Thomas Bach addressed his Japanese hosts as Chinese for the first time since arriving in Tokyo last week.

“You have managed to make Tokyo the best-ever prepared city for the Olympic Games, which is even more remarkable given the difficult circumstances we all have to face,” Bach said during a pep talk at the headquarters of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee.

Bach stumbled over his words and referred to the "Chinese people" rather than the "Japanese people."

“Our common goal is to have safe and secure games for everyone; for the athletes, for all delegations, and, most importantly, for the Chinese and Japanese people,” Bach said, quickly correcting his error.

The slip was not included in the interpretations of Bach's comments in the briefing, but the Japanese media quickly reported it, and there was backlash on social media.

He concluded his speech with a Japanese phrase, "Gambari mashou," which translates as "Let us do our best."

The Olympics, which have been postponed due to the pandemic, begin in ten days.

Bach spent the first three days of his Olympic preparations in isolation at the International Olympic Committee's five-star hotel in central Tokyo, and his movements are restricted for the first 14 days, as they are for almost everyone else.

Last week, organizers and the IOC decided to ban fans from all but a few outlying venues, following the Japanese government's declaration of a state of emergency in Tokyo due to rising coronavirus cases, which went into effect on Monday and will last until Aug. 22.

The state of emergency will be in effect for the duration of the Olympics, which begin on July 23 and end on August 8. Its main impact will be to force bars and restaurants to close early and stop selling alcohol, with the goal of reducing traffic on crowded trains.

Bach's visit on Tuesday coincided with the official opening of the Olympic Village on Tokyo Bay, and organizers did not immediately provide an estimate of how many athletes were present.

Bach is scheduled to visit Hiroshima on Friday in an attempt to link the Olympics to the city's efforts to promote world peace, while IOC Vice President John Coates is scheduled to visit Nagasaki on the same day.

According to the Japanese newspaper Kyodo, a group in Hiroshima is protesting Bach's visit.

On Saturday, a small group of protesters gathered outside Bach's hotel, holding placards saying he was not welcome in Tokyo.

Organizers have been chastised for proceeding with the Olympics in the midst of a pandemic, despite polls showing that, depending on how the question is phrased, 50%-80% of the public opposes the Games taking place.

The Olympics will bring 11,000 athletes into Japan, as well as tens of thousands of officials, judges, media, and broadcasters.

Also on Tuesday, police in Tokyo announced the arrest of four men from the United States and the United Kingdom who worked for a power company contracted by the Olympics.

Publicity

The suspects were employed by Aggreko Events Services Japan, which apologized for the trouble. According to NHK public television, the four suspects entered Japan between February and May and were staying in Tokyo.

In Tokyo, there were 830 new virus cases reported, up from 593 one week ago, marking the 24th consecutive day that cases were higher than seven days prior.

According to the prime minister's office in Japan, 18.5% of the population is fully immunized.

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