The now-former prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, who retired due to health reasons in September, recently spoke to Nikkan Sports about making an appearance at the 2016 Rio Olympics closing ceremony (as Mario) to promote Tokyo 2020.

He admitted he wasn’t thrilled with the idea when it was initially proposed to him, but felt there was no other choice as he had been around as the prime minister for such a long time.

“To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled when [Tokyo 2020] President [Yoshiro] Mori first told me about it.”

“Initially, I wondered if it were ok for the Prime Minister to take on the appearance of Mario, but the Olympics wanted to get rid of political overtones as much as possible”

It took him 20 hours to get to Rio de Janerio in the end, and unfortunately, there was a slight delay before his big appearance on stage. It resulted in him having to wait inside the warp pipe a little longer than expected.

The Tokyo Olympics was meant to take place in July and August of this year but has now been pushed back to Summer 2021 due to the global pandemic. As Abe is no longer in power, it’ll be up to his successor, Yoshihide Suga, to don Mario’s cap.

When he’s not paying off a loan to Tom Nook, Liam likes to report on the latest Nintendo news and admire his library of video games. His favourite Nintendo character used to be a guitar-playing dog, but nowadays he prefers to hang out with Judd the cat.

Sounds pretty humorous, but there seems to be a more serious subtext that I’m just not understanding. Was he some kind of controversial figure? The details on why he didn’t want to do it and why the Olympics wanted him involved if they were distancing themselves from politics kind of vague and confusing to me.

@Not_Soos Wellimo yes he’s controversial due to his rather nationalist stance. Obviously it depends on your political opinion but Abe going to visit WW2 war criminals’ graves and being somewhat blasé about Japan’s treatment of Korean ‘comfort women’ never sat right with me. Always worth a look for yourself at the context!

@nessisonett Interesting, makes me wonder how okay Nintendo even was with this. I don’t know much about Japan’s post-war history, but after recently watching the Ghibli movieFrom Up On Poppy Hill,” I was left with the impression that Japan might not be too different from America in the way that we sometimes glorify the darker, prejudicial aspects of our nation’s historyin Japan’s case, its empirical reign, and in America’s, the Confederacy. Just goes to show, I guess, that people aren’t that different, no matter where you go.

@Not_Soos From what I know he was a pretty good Prime Minister; Japan had some deflation for some time, he pumped some money in and it improved. The korea thing is probably the main negative thing. He apologized but I think people wanted him to do More? I’m not very acquainted with the situation.

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