Organizers of Tokyo’s bid for the 2020 Olympics reiterated their commitment to IOC rules Monday after the city’s governor was quoted making critical comments about rival candidate Istanbul.
”Tokyo 2020 fully respects and adheres to the IOC guidelines for the candidate cities,” organizers said in a statement. ”We have the utmost respect for all candidate cities and have always taken pride in bidding in a sprit based on the Olympic values of excellence, respect and friendship.”
Governor Naoki Inose, who is also chairman of the bid committee, was quoted in the New York Times last weekend suggesting that Istanbul is less developed and less equipped to host the games than the Japanese capital.
In an interview conducted in New York, Inose said: ”For the athletes, where will be the best place to be? Well, compare the two countries where they have yet to build infrastructure, very sophisticated facilities.”
Inose also said that ”Islamic countries, the only thing they share in common is Allah and they are fighting with each other, and they have classes.”
The governor’s comments appear to break the International Olympic Committee’s rules prohibiting bid cities from commenting on rival candidates. The remarks could lead to a reprimand or warning from the IOC ethics commission.
”It is not entirely clear from the translation what exactly the governor was trying to say, but we would remind all candidates of the rules pertaining to the bidding process,” the IOC said in a statement Monday to The Associated Press.
Inose, a former journalist, historian and social critic, was elected governor in December. He was considered more moderate than his predecessor, Shintaro Ishihara.
Tokyo, which hosted the 1964 Olympics, is bidding for a second straight time after a failed attempt for the 2016 Games, which went to Rio de Janeiro. Istanbul is bidding for a fifth time after four previous failed campaigns. Also bidding for the 2020 Olympics is Madrid.
The IOC will select the host city by secret ballot at its assembly in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Sept. 7.