Japan's Olympics minister apologises for being THREE minutes late for meeting

David Harding
Contributor
Sorry – again: Japan’s gaffe=prone Olympics minister Yoshitaka Sakurada (AP)

Japan’s Olympics minister has made a public apology for being THREE minutes late for a parliamentary meeting.

Yoshitaka Sakurada said sorry after being criticised by MPs.

They said he had shown disrespect for his office and subsequently boycotted a meeting of the Games’ budgetary committee for five hours.

Tokyo will host the next summer Olympics in 2020.

Japan won the bid to host the 2020 games but that victory has been hit by corruption allegations (PA)

It is not  the first time Mr Sakurada has had to say sorry.

Last week, he backed down after saying he was disappointed with Japanese medal hopeful Rikako Ikee, after she announced she had been diagnosed with leukaemia.

She is a potential gold medallist, an athlete in whom we have great expectations. I’m really disappointed,’ he said.

His remarks brought a sharp rebuke and he said sorry.

In fact, Mr Sakurada is rather gaffe-prone.

In 2016, he came under fire for describing so-called comfort women forced to provide sexual services to Japanese war-time troops as ‘professional prostitutes’.

He also doubles up as Japan’s cyber minister and once admitted he had never used a computer.

As a result his popularity among the Japanese public is not high.

A recent poll found that 65% of Japanese people thought he was unsuitable for the Olympics job.

He was only appointed to the high-profile job last October.

The mascots for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, Miraitowa (l) and Someity. (PA)

The 2020 Olympics is the second time Tokyo will host the Summer games, having done the same job in 1964.

In addition, Japan has hosted two Winter Olympics, in  1972 and 1998.

Apologies for not being on time are not uncommon in Japan. Two years ago a train company had to say sorry after one of its trains left a station 20 seconds early.

Japan may have successfully bid for the Olympics, but it has been far from plain sailing for the Tokyo Games which have been hit by claims of corruption.

Earlier this week it was announced that officials are considering introducing a host of new sports for the games after Tokyo, Paris in 2024, including skateboarding.

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