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Tokyo Olympics committee head Mori demands athletes sing national anthem in unison

Yoshiro Mori (Mainichi)

Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games president Yoshiro Mori has requested the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) to strictly enforce code of conduct provisions requiring members of Japan's national team to sing the national anthem in unison at official events.

    Former Prime Minister Mori told hundreds of Japanese athletes at a July 3 send-off ceremony for the upcoming Rio de Janeiro Olympics, "Why can't you sing the national anthem together?" after a singer from the Ground Self-Defense Force sang the anthem solo. Athletes present at the ceremony apparently were confused by Mori's comment since a large screen at the venue said, "solo performance of the national anthem."

    Mori said at a meeting of sports associations on July 7, "The invitation said 'singing of the national anthem in unison,' but for some reason the screen at the venue said 'solo performance.'" He then touched on the JOC's code of conduct that says members of the Olympic delegation are to sing the national anthem together at official events such as pep rallies and medal ceremonies, and said, "I only spoke my personal thought (at the July 3 event) that we should unite our hearts and sing together."

    Regarding the matter, JOC executive director Eisuke Hiraoka commented, "The program arrangement caused misunderstanding. We'll make sure that singing of the national anthem in unison is enforced."

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