Japan's Cybersecurity and Olympics Minister Contradicts ‘Never Used a Computer’ Comment

By Reuters 16 November 2018

TOKYO — Two days after saying he never used a computer, Japan’s cybersecurity and Olympics minister Yoshitaka Sakurada has now contradicted himself, claiming he uses a computer at work.

The 68-year-old is responsible for overseeing cybersecurity preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Games and his comment on Wednesday at a parliamentary committee meeting has caused embarrassment and concern over Japan’s preparations for the high-profile global sporting event.

At a news conference on Friday, Sakurada moved to clarify his comments.

“Referring to the comment I made on 14 November, I do not use computers at home on a daily basis, but at the office, I obviously use it for various work,” he said.

“For those who use them (computers), I always instruct them to take security measures.”

Sakurada was named to both posts last month by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, having never held a cabinet position before during his 22 years in Parliament.

Sakurada’s responses in Parliament and news conferences have drawn criticism before.

Addressing another parliamentary committee, the minister had slipped up by saying the Olympics would cost Japan 1,500 yen ($13.21) instead of 150 billion yen ($1.32 billion).

He has also blamed his mistakes on the opposition not submitting questions in advance, although they had, and during news conferences for the Olympics he has often simply answered: “I don’t know.”