The View From Asia

When plans for national progress go awry

Official plans do not always work out as they are intended to and Asia was home to such cases this week. Japan's bid to host the 2020 Olympics was hit by plagiarism accusations while the use of an adult-movie star's photographs on Taiwan's public transit cards left many puzzled. Meanwhile, in Sri Lanka, the government's bid to store padi at an airport raised eyebrows, and debate. Here are excerpts from commentaries in Asia News Network newspapers.

Confidence shaken in Tokyo's 2020 Olympic Games bid

Editorial

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Can the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics be held without any problems? We cannot help harbouring such worries.

The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games announced on Tuesday it has decided to cancel the use of the official emblems it unveiled earlier.

Suspicions of plagiarism had arisen over the Games' emblems designed by art director Kenjiro Sano.


An employee taking down a placard with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games emblem at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games announced on Tuesday it has decided to cancel the use of the official emblems it unveiled earlier. PHOTO: REUTERS

A week has passed since Taiwan's EasyCard Corp's decision to release the controversial "Angles and Demons" limited-edition card covers featuring Japanese porn star Yui Hatano, providing overdue lessons ranging from morals to government personnel management and gender issues.

Controversy started shortly after the committee unveiled the official emblems in late July, and it was pointed out that they resemble the logo for a Belgian theatre.

The designer of the logo filed a lawsuit against the International Olympic Committee.

Sano had categorically denied the allegations of plagiarism.

As recently as last Friday, the committee rejected the claim while revealing that the final version had gone through two rounds of modifications.

Meanwhile, it was found that the scenes showing examples of how the Olympic emblems might be displayed, which Sano submitted in his presentation of the emblems, were found to have been based on images he used without permission.

Thorough examination of the selection process is needed.

Taipei's porn star public-transit cards - a learning experience

Editorial

The China Post

A week has passed since Taiwan's EasyCard Corp's decision to release the controversial "Angles and Demons" limited-edition card covers featuring Japanese porn star Yui Hatano, providing overdue lessons ranging from morals to government personnel management and gender issues, not only for the Greater Taipei population, but also for Taiwanese society.

Up to date, the EasyCard Corp has disregarded Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je's preference for ceasing the printing and distribution of the Hatano-themed EasyCards by opening telephone preorders.

Thirty-thousand cards were sold out by within just over four hours.

Mr Tai Chi-chuan, co-chairman of EasyCard Corp and Mr Ko were also sued by Taipei City Councillor Chung Hsiao-ping for a breach of trust and public humiliation. Popular convenience stores in Taiwan refused to stock the controversial card covers.

Taipei City's women's rights committee stood up to condemn the city government.

Mr Ko expressed his surprise and stated how admirable it was for a private company to use only NT$450,000 (S$19,570) to create a week's worth of media coverage.

This clearly demonstrates that Mr Ko, his government and the EasyCard Corp do not truly comprehend the negative consequences the situation has caused.

A week's worth of this kind of negative media coverage is not something to be proud of or be in admiration of.

The Taipei City Government clearly needs to rethink how recent events will reflect on it.

As the largest shareholder in EasyCard Corp, any sort of decision the company makes will essentially reflect upon the city government.

Lack of understanding reflects cracks in Mr Ko's management processes, and results in citizens mistrusting the relationship between the company and the government.

Storing padi at an airport

Editorial

The Island

The United National Party (UNP)-led government never misses an opportunity to ridicule former President Mahinda Rajapaksa's development strategy. It is now using the Mattala Airport for storing padi!

At other airports we have jet engines roaring, but Mattala is as quiet as a hermitage and only animals roar in its vicinity.

The use of the Mattala Airport for storing padi smacks of a political gimmick aimed at distracting the attention of the farmers and the general public from the real issue - failure on the part of the Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) to purchase and store padi.

In the run-up to the January presidential election, the UNP-led opposition had a field day at the expense of the Rajapaksas, showing as it did pictures of farmers living in what is supposed to be the flight path at Mattala, leisurely drying their paddy on either side of the road leading to the airport.

The new government has now gone a step ahead; it has stored paddy at the airport.

We believe that padi should be stored not at Mattala Airport but at Hambantota Port which the government says is without ships. Warehouses there must be empty.

It is time the politicians responsible for ruining the agricultural sector in general and the PMB in particular stopped blaming each other and put their heads, if any, together to find ways and means of storing padi and giving the farmer a better deal.

Political gimmicks won't do.

The View From Asia is a weekly compilation of articles from The Straits Times' media partner Asia News Network, a grouping of 22 newspapers. For more, see www.asianewsnet.net

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on , with the headline ' When plans for national progress go awry'. Print Edition | Subscribe