February 21 - Tokyo 2020 President Yoshirō Mori is today at the centre of a new row after appearing to criticise Japan's top female figure skater Mao Asada following her failure to win a medal here last night.
The former Japanese Prime Minister caused outrage when he claimed Asada, a silver medalist at Vancouver 2010, "always falls at critical times," referring to her fall on her trademark triple axel when she came only 16th in the short programme and another fall on her signature jump in the short programme of the team competition.
Last night, she recovered with a personal best and the third highest free-skate score of the night to finish sixth overall, still disappointing for one of the medal favourites.
Japan's Sports Minister Hakubun Shimomura, the top Government official in charge of overseeing preparations for Tokyo 2020, defended Mori but new Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe admitted he was worried that the man who is the face of the Organising Committee had made another yet high-profile gaffe.
Earlier during Sochi 2014 he had caused embarrassment when he claimed he did not speak English because it was the "enemy's language" as he tried to defend the age of the top officials at Tokyo 2020 and the lack of female representation.
Masuzoe, currently travelling here to meet International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and attend the Closing Ceremony on Sunday (February 23), claimed he would tackle Mori about his comments.
"I felt it was a little troubling," said Masuzoe at Narita airport.
"When I get a chance to meet him, I would like to advise him on this."
Mori's period as Prime Minister for a year between 2000 and 2001 is normally recalled for him leaving office as one of the most unpopular leaders in Japanese history due to the number of public relations mistakes he made.
The most notable of these was in February 2001 when American submarine USS Greeneville accidentally hit and sunk a Japanese fishing ship, resulting in nine dead students and teachers, Mori continued a round of golf after being told of the incident,
Shimomura tried to defend Mori after his criticism of Asada, claiming that he was trying to sympathise with her.
"I think there was a sympathetic tone [in what he said]," Shimomura said.
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February 2014: Tokyo 2020 President claims he does not speak English because it is the "enemy's language"