Tokyo governor apologizes for comments on Istanbul's Olympic bid and Muslims


Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose (C) is surrounded by reporters after he and his wife Yuriko (L) sent off Craig Reedie, chief of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) evaluation commission at a Tokyo hotel after a four-day inspection tour by IOC members for the candidate city of the 2020 Olympic Games on March 8, 2013.



The governor of Tokyo has apologized for comments he made about rival Istanbul's bid for the 2020 Olympics and Islamic countries.

"I am apologizing as my remarks could be misinterpreted by people in the Islamic world, so I am clearly apologizing for this," Naoki Inose, who is also chairman of the Tokyo Olympic bid committee, told a news conference.

Inose made the comments in an interview with The New York Times.

"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," he was quoted as saying in the article published late last week.

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He continued: "Islamic countries, the only thing they share in common is Allah and they are fighting with each other, and they have classes."

The comments prompted an investigation by the International Olympic Committee. Turkey's sports minister also responded, calling the remarks "unfair and disheartening" and saying they "did not comply with the spirit of the values of the Olympic Movement."

Inose recently replaced his outspoken predecessor Shintaro Ishihara. He said that from now on he would campaign "strictly in accordance with the IOC rules."