The New York Times is standing by its article where Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose, who is also the chairman of the Tokyo 2020 bid committee, is quoted as saying critical remarks about Istanbul, one of their rivals for the hosting of the 2020 Olympics. Inose has claimed that what he was saying “was not accurately reflected in the article” but the newspaper is “completely confident” that they were accurate and fair in their reportage.
Jason Stallman, sports editor of the NYT said that both of the reporters who interviewed Inose are fluent in Japanese, referring to Ken Belson, who was part of a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of the earthquake and tsunami disaster of 2011, and Hiroko Tabuchi, a Japanese-born writer for the New York newspaper. The governor also had his own translator and Stallman said that the quotes came from the translator, whose words are recorded. Inose is in hot water with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Ethics Commission because of a violation of Rule 14 in the conduct for bidders, which prevents bid cities from commenting on their rivals. In the interview, he was quoted as criticizing Istanbul, saying “But Islamic countries, the only thing they share in common is Allah and they are fighting with each other, and they have classes.”
Inose issued a statement saying Istanbul is one of his favorite cities and that he didn’t have any intention of making critical comments about other bidding cities. But Turkey‘s Sports Minister Suat Kılıç said Inose has violated the Olympic spirit and that they find his statements “very disappointing”. The IOC has already sent a warning to Tokyo 2020 and reminded them of the rules pertaining to the bid process. A spokesman for Tokyo 2020 said that they were surprised with the focus of the story and that Inose’s comments could be taken the wrong way. They reiterated that they have “utmost respect” for the other cities bidding for the Olympics and Paralympics Games.
[ via Kyodo News ]