October 17th 2018
Posters using the phrase “Disability is just an excuse, I am only weak if I lose” were removed the walls of JR Tokyo station on October 15th following criticisms from disability groups.
The posters were displayed on the walls of JR Tokyo Station as part of a project called “Team Beyond” to promote the Paralympics from October 8th and were removed on October 15th. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government also removed the images from their website.
The posters were part of a series with quotations from 23 athletes with disabilities. One of the athletes is quoting as saying : “Disability is nothing but an excuse. If I lose in a game, it only means I’m weak.”
The comment caused an debacle online and especially on Twitter, with one person saying:
“Even when people cannot do certain things because of their disabilities, should they be told they are making excuses?” one individual said.
Another post read, “(These words) will harm some disabled people.”
The metropolitan government also received complaints by telephone.
In response, a government official said: “The words expressed the player’s attitude toward the Games and are not directed at other people. If some people understood the words in a way that made them feel uncomfortable, that was not our intention.”