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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 January 22 - 28  > Abe should abide by Olympic Charter
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2020 January 22 - 28 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Abe should abide by Olympic Charter

January 23, 2020

Akahata ‘beating’ column

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo repeatedly referred to the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in his policy speech on January 20 in a bid to give an impression that Japan will enter “a new era” of bright “dreams” and “hope”. Ominously, Abe mentioned the Games within the context of the need to revise the Constitution.

He called for constitutional amendments by saying that with the Olympics and Paralympics approaching, Japan is energized and that now is the time to act.

However, the Olympic Charter underscores the importance of opposing “any political or commercial abuse of sport and athletes”.

Based on the stipulation, Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo criticized Abe’s policy speech. Shii said, “The Olympics and Paralympics has nothing to do with the issue of the Constitution. Such a political use of the world’s largest sporting event is unacceptable. Abe trampled on the Olympic spirit.”

Abe’s twisted logic also attracted attention from some major daily newspapers. Mainichi Shimbun reported that Abe used the Summer Games to call for national unity, which can be seen as a political use of the event. Asahi Shimbun wrote that the Olympics and the Constitution are separate topics of discussion.

In the first place, sport and Olympic Games must maintain strict political neutrality.

This is because sporting events are believed to provide an opportunity for all people to assemble and compete with each other regardless of their political beliefs or ideology. The Olympic Charter strongly opposes discrimination of any kind, including political opinions. To respect all athletes irrespective of their political stance is an important principle in sport.

With the Summer Games set to take place in Japan this year, Abe, as the prime minister of the host nation, is required to fully be aware of the importance of political neutrality in sports. Despite this, Abe in his policy speech cited the Olympics to make a public appeal for pursuing constitutional amendments in total disregard of the Olympic spirit.

Abe’s political use of the Olympics is not totally new.

In 2017, when the Diet was discussing the controversial “anti-conspiracy bill”, Abe claimed that it is not too much to say that Japan will be unable to hold the Tokyo Summer Games without the enactment of the bill. In addition, in the same year, Abe said that he will make efforts so that a new constitution will take effect in 2020, thereby linking the Games and the Constitution together.

Thus, Abe has made many remarks that go against the Olympic Charter. This indicates that for Abe, the Tokyo Olympics is merely a tool to realize his political ambitions.

The Olympic movement disapproves of the political use of sport based on lessons learned from the 1936 Berlin Olympics in Nazi Germany. At that time, Hitler made full use of the sporting event to justify his racist policies and strengthen his rule.

Abe’s attempt to utilize the Olympics to serve his political ambitions would remind many of that blot on the history of the Olympic movement.

Past related article:
> Abe’s political exploitation of Tokyo Olympics evokes nightmare of Hitler [May 9, 2017]

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