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.
“I waited for over ten minutes in that pipe”
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.