Olympic leader calls Japanese people ‘Chinese’ in first Tokyo speech

Olympic leader calls Japanese people ‘Chinese’ in first Tokyo speech


The head of the International Olympic Committee is not winning a gold medal in diplomacy.

IOC President Thomas Bach referred to the Japanese people as “Chinese,” while making his first public comments in Tokyo ahead of the summer games Tuesday morning.

Bach misidentified his hosts — and quickly corrected himself — while giving a pep talk at the headquarters of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee.

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“Our common target is safe and secure games for everybody; for the athletes, for all the delegations, and most importantly also for the Chinese people — Japanese people,” Bach said.

The slip-up was not included in the English to Japanese interpretations, but was quickly reported by Japanese media.

Thomas Bach spent three days in isolation following his arrival in Japan ahead of the Olympics. Takashi Aoyama/Pool Photo via AP

Backlash from the gaffe was swift on social media in Japan. The controversy comes as organizers have been criticized for going ahead with the games,

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