Japan Olympic Minister Apologizes for Remarks on Ikee
Tokyo, Feb. 13 (Jiji Press)--Yoshitaka Sakurada, minister for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, on Wednesday apologized for his remarks that it is "disappointing" that prominent Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee has been diagnosed with leukemia.
During a House of Representatives Budget Committee meeting, Sakurada admitted that he made the remarks and withdrew them, saying that he had been insensitive.
The minister, however, rejected demands from opposition parties for his resignation, expressing his resolve to make efforts to fulfill his duties.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe indicated that he intends to allow Sakurada to continue in his post, saying he hopes that Sakurada will carry out his work commitments.
According to some media reports, Sakurada said Tuesday that Ikee, 18, is a "really hopeful athlete for Japan" and thus the diagnosis is "disappointing."
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]