International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach drew criticism for a slip-up when he referred to the Japanese people as Chinese during his first appearance speech in Tokyo on Tuesday.
What happened: Bach gave a speech at the headquarters of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee, where he commended Tokyo as “the best-ever prepared city for the Olympic Games” despite the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Associated Press.
- “Our common target is safe and secure games for everybody; for the athletes, for all the delegations, and most importantly also for the Chinese people – Japanese people,” he said as he immediately corrected his mistake.
- An interpreter translated the speech from English to Japanese but left out the blunder.
- The Japanese media caught the gaffe and reported it, stirring backlash online.
It’s obvious that Mr. Thomas Bach does not care at all about whether we are Chinese, Japanese or Mandalorian, as long as we are about to pay for him and his badass clan. #GoHomeBach #Tokyo2020 https://t.co/hTpZAfExwr
— Daichi (@earthquasar) July 13, 2021
Thomas Bach confused Japanese and Chinese at a meeting held in Tokyo. He corrected himself immediately but did not apologize. The remark reveals his ignorance towards Asian people even it was a mistake. It is highly offensive to BOTH Japan and China. https://t.co/1QtSJt2Xip
— ナブ (@tomoi_002) July 13, 2021
His attention has definitely shifted to the Beijing Winter Olympics.
”No need to flatter Japanese people, any more.”
Thomas Bach, GO HOME
— Temp.NoTokyoOlympics (@notokyoolympics) July 14, 2021
That’s hilarious. #ioc kingpin and criminal mastermind Thomas Bach forgot he was speaking to Japanese people instead of Chinese people. Clearly all that boy sees is money. Couldn’t care less which country’s economy he’s destroying. @Olympics #IOC
— Benny (@BennyLate) July 13, 2021
— Koji Yamabe🌈🌈🌈 (@Kojiyamabeal) July 13, 2021
Other details: Bach arrived in Tokyo on July 8 and spent a few days in quarantine before his first appearance at the press conference, The Guardian reported.
- Protesters opposing the Olympics showed up outside Bach’s hotel on July 10, with signboards saying he is not welcome in Tokyo.
- Japanese media reported that a group is also opposing his visit to Hiroshima on Friday.
- The IOC sparked outrage after officials insisted on pushing the Games’ opening date to July 23. Many experts argued the influx of people coming to the Olympics could set off a new wave of infection.
- Organizers expect 11,000 athletes and tens of thousands of officials, judges, media and broadcasters to be present in Tokyo for the games.
Past backlash: This is not the first time that Bach has received backlash in Japan for his comments regarding the upcoming Games, reported The Washington Post.
- In March, he said that the Olympics would require a “great sacrifice.”
- In May, he praised the Japanese peoples’ “great resilience and spirit” for having “overcome adversity.”
- The comments were reportedly found distasteful, as many in Japan did not wish to host the games or make the sacrifices given the level of risks.
- AP News stated that public polls showed that 50%-80% of the people oppose the Olympics.
Featured Image via NBC Sports