Olympics: Japan is known for pioneering the implementation of various technologies and the Tokyo Olympic Games are a great opportunity for the country to show its development. However, a series of controversies and gaffes in the preparation of a veteran politician’s sporting event have scratched the image of the land of the rising sun.
Yoshitaka Sakurada, now out of the political scene, took over the Ministry of Cybersecurity and was also appointed by the Olympics and Paralympics in October 2018. A month later, after being questioned by lawmakers, he hinted that he had never used a computer in his life. If necessary, “I order my employees or secretaries,” he said.
The former minister also demonstrated that he did not have basic computer knowledge. When asked about the safety risk of using USB devices in nuclear power plants, the politician said he did not know the details and added: “So, how about having an expert answer your question, if necessary, how about that?”
Short Pass through the Olympic Games
With a performance marked by gaffes and disconcerting speeches, the time Sakurada spent at the head of the Tokyo Olympic Games was very short. In April 2019, just 6 months after taking office, the then Olympic minister resigned after making statements deemed offensive against victims of the 2011 Fukushima earthquake.
The former minister’s history of gaffes is extensive. One of the most emblematic occurred when Rikako Ikee, an athlete with a chance of winning a medal for Japan in swimming, withdrew from competing after being diagnosed with leukemia. Sakurada declared himself “very disappointed” with the decision. The act was considered insensitive and the politician had to apologize.