Thomas Bach, chairman of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), spoke publicly for the first time on Tuesday since arriving in the Japanese capital Tokyo. Bach immediately made a painful mistake, possibly thinking he was in China. Stumbling over his words, he called the Japanese people “the Chinese people,” according to international news agencies.
Realizing that he was wrong, he corrected himself in the same sentence. “Our common goal is safe and secure Games for all; for athletes, for delegations and especially for the Chinese people – the Japanese people,” said Bach. He spoke in English, which was translated to Japanese. according to AP became the mistake not translated. However, local media reported the error. From a historical point of view, the mistake is particularly painful: China and Japan fought a war between 1937 and 1945, in which the Japanese armed forces occupied Chinese territory for a long time.
Bach concluded his speech with the Japanese words “gambari mashou,” which means “let’s do our best.” The IOC chief’s visit coincided with the opening of the Olympic Village in Tokyo. Bach had to quarantine for the first three days of his stay as a precaution against the corona virus. The organizers have decided that there will be no public at the sporting event. There is a state of emergency in Tokyo due to the increased number of corona infections. This week, several Dutch athletes will fly to the Japanese capital.