Japan’s Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Is Behind This Hateful Olympic Scandal

TOKYO—When the Olympics opening ceremony was held on July 23, ex-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the person who had sealed Japan’s bid for the Games within the first place, was conspicuously absent—however he was there in spirit.

Regardless of a number of warnings, the music of Abe’s long-time ally and donor—the homophobic, ultranationalist composer Koichi Sugiyama—was performed within the opening athlete march. The choice was met with international outrage, but it surely wasn’t simply an unlucky coincidence: it was one thing that Abe, as an honorary Olympic adviser, had personally requested, based on a Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee worker who spoke to The Each day Beast.

“Sugiyama’s composition was the primary among the many 19 online game songs used, as a result of Abe deemed it a very powerful. That’s what we had been advised,” the worker, talking on situation of anonymity resulting from a non-disclosure settlement, advised The Each day Beast.

Sugiyama—finest recognized for creating the music for the favored “Dragon Quest” online game franchise—is infamous for every kind of hateful political statements and positions, together with siding with viciously homophobic politicians, denying a mass bloodbath that was carried out by the Japanese military, and falsely stating that no Korean girls had been used as intercourse slaves in Japan throughout World Warfare II.

“Each silly shit request was internally referred to as a ‘something-something anken.’ You had the ‘IOC-anken,’ the ‘[Tokyo Governor Yuriko] Koike-anken,’ and, after all, the ‘Abe-anken,’” the worker stated. When it was identified to the committee that Sugiyama’s poisonous private views may tarnish the occasion, Toshiro Muto, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics chief, allegedly advised the worker: “That is Abe’s request. Do it.”

So, why would the previous prime minister stick his neck out to have Sugiyama’s music featured within the Video games?

Because it seems, 66-year-old Abe and 90-year-old Sugiyama aren’t solely ideological allies who share the identical controversial views, together with blasting Japan’s pacifist, post-war constitution and denying that Japan has ever committed war crimes. And so they’re not simply pals who dine together in fancy French-Japanese fusion restaurants or typically get one another’s critics fired from their jobs.

The duo, it appears, have maintained a patron-client relationship that goes again a number of years. In keeping with public data reviewed by The Each day Beast, Sugiyama has donated over $75,000 to Abe since 2011. Revenue and expenditure experiences from Abe’s political funds administration organizations present that the musician donated 1.5 million yen ($14,000) to Abe in 2016 alone. In a 2012 interview with FRIDAY journal, the composer went into nice element about “pouring his non-public property into supporting Abe.”

It was a by no means ending sequence of modifications and mishaps.

— Tokyo Organizing Committee worker.

An worker from the monolithic promoting goliath Dentsu, the Olympics’ unique advertising and marketing companion, advised The Each day Beast that he was additionally conscious of the Abe-Sugiyama state of affairs forward of the Olympic ceremony.

“In fact, we knew that controversy was brewing. By late June, folks had heard the ‘Dragon Quest’ music [composed by Sugiyama] enjoying throughout rehearsals, and one web site wrote a very long piece on how problematic utilizing Sugiyama was, saying it could disgrace Japan,” the staffer stated. “It was everywhere in the web. A couple of newspapers sniffed it out and requested questions. We had been all advised to inform the press: ‘Oh that’s simply apply music.’”

The Each day Beast additionally spoke to a person who helped compile the opening ceremony press equipment, who stated that the songs had been listed, however not the names of their composers. “The highest brass didn’t need the media to start out sniffing round and get placed on the spot. So it was kind of a half-assed cover-up,” the supply stated.

The choice to make use of Sugiyama’s music sparked a slew of behind-the-scenes drama, insiders defined.

Nintendo, cognizant that the occasion was a ticking time bomb, pulled out on the final minute. None of their songs had been performed. They determined that under no circumstances did they need to be concerned within the fiasco to return,” a Dentsu worker advised The Each day Beast. “They most likely remorse that they ever let Abe [who is currently under investigation by the Tokyo Prosecutors for election law violations and other charges] appear as Mario. Not a very good look now.”

Including to that, Square Enix, the online game maker of “Dragon Quest,” had additionally publicly distanced themselves from Sugiyama in 2018, noting his views didn’t mirror firm values. “As a matter of coverage, we don’t condone discrimination or harassment of any type and we respect the variety of sexuality and gender id of everybody all over the world,” the corporate stated on the time.

Shinzo Abe didn’t reply to a number of requests for remark from The Each day Beast, and as a substitute blocked the creator of this text on Twitter. The Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee didn’t reply to questions on the time of this writing, both.

The previous prime minister has a status for avoiding the press, having spent 49 days with out holding a single information convention final summer time. He’s additionally the one prime minister in Japanese historical past to have been censured for “making false statements” 118 times by the parliament, for which he later apologized. The apology wasn’t fairly sufficient for the Prosecutorial Review Board, which concluded final week that the Tokyo Prosecutors have to re-investigate Abe on expenses pertaining to these lies.

When Tsunekazu Takeda, the previous head of the Japan Olympic Committee, first requested Abe to develop into a high adviser in January of 2013, he gladly accepted. “As a result of my grandfather additionally took on the position of high adviser [for winning the bid for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics] and made it profitable, I additionally want to succeed,” Abe stated on the time. The previous prime minister had reportedly envisioned {that a} profitable Olympics would give him sufficient recognition and political clout to change Japan’s constitution.

The “bitter expertise” of planning the Video games went past the Abe scandal, based on the Tokyo Organizing Committee worker who spoke to The Each day Beast. The staffer described the ordeal as “a unending sequence of modifications and mishaps. Each time we’d have a good storyline or plan, there would come a brand new request from the highest brass so as to add this or add that or take this out.”

Abe has the ambition to make one other comeback because the prime minister.

— Koichi Nakano, Japanese politics professor at Sophia College.

The worker defined that in 2017, the unique crew for the opening and shutting ceremony was made up of eight folks. Nonetheless, the proficient members resigned or had been pushed out one after the other. In December 2020, the Olympic Committee dismantled the eight-member crew and put Hiroshi Sasaki, a former industrial director from Dentsu, in cost. Sasaki himself was compelled to resign after the weekly journal, Shukan Bunshun, reported that he had proposed staging a skit with plus-size TV character Naomi Watanabe carrying pig ears, calling her “The Olympig.”

Regardless of the onslaught of scandals plaguing the Video games, Professor Koichi Nakano, an skilled on Japanese politics at Sophia College, isn’t shocked that Sugiyama’s music was featured within the opening ceremony. “Sugiyama holds excessive right-wing revisionist views and is an in depth supporter of Shinzo Abe. Abe clearly needed to ship a sign to his revisionist supporters that the Olympics had been additionally a celebration of their views,” he advised The Each day Beast.

Nakano additionally supplied a idea on why Abe has stored such a low profile in current weeks, not even tweeting congratulations to the various Japanese gold medal winners.

“Abe has the ambition to make another comeback as prime minister,” he stated. “And he did not need to be too intently related to Tokyo 2020, which was turning into a significant well being hazard, in addition to a PR catastrophe.”

Chihiro Kai contributed to this story.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/japans-former-prime-minister-shinzo-abe-is-behind-this-hateful-olympic-scandal?supply=articles&by way of=rss | Japan’s Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Is Behind This Hateful Olympic Scandal


ClareFora is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. ClareFora joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: clarefora@interreviewed.com.

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