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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 June 29 - July 5  > Tokyo 2020 organizer pressures Olympic athletes to sing ‘Kimigayo’
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2016 June 29 - July 5 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Tokyo 2020 organizer pressures Olympic athletes to sing ‘Kimigayo’

July 5, 2016
Former Prime Minister Mori Yoshiro, President of the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, said recently that athletes who will not sing Japan’s national anthem have no right to represent the country. His remark is causing widespread repercussions among the general public.

Mori made this statement at a send-off ceremony held in Tokyo on July 3 for Japan’s national team participating in next month’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

At the ceremony, following the PA announcement of a “solo performance” of the national anthem, a female leading private of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force sang “Kimigayo”. Then Mori took the platform and said to the participants, “Why didn’t you sing ‘Kimigayo’ together? The athletes who won’t even sing the national anthem are unqualified to represent Japan.” However, it was only natural that they did not sing the song as it was a solo performance.

Along with the rising-sun flag of “Hinomaru”, “Kimigayo” was used as a symbol of Japan’s wars of aggression. It is a matter of individual freedom whether to sing the controversial anthem or not. Article 19 of the Constitution provides that “freedom of thought and conscience shall not be violated.”

The committee president’s stance pressing players to pledge allegiance to the nation runs counter to the fundamental principle of sports which have developed based on freedom and independence.

The Olympic Charter also states that “the Olympic Games are competitions between athletes in individual or team events and not between countries.”

Mori who does not seem to understand this Olympic spirit is unqualified to host the international sports festival in 2020.

Past related article:
> Ex-PM Mori is not qualified to organize 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics [July 27, 2015]
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