Japanese News: France not going to Pyeongchang?

I was very surprised when opening Asahi website this morning to see an article stating that France may not attend the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang if the relationship with North Korea gets worse. Let’s analyse Asahi’s article

Link to the article

The title is not difficult to understand:

フランス、平昌五輪不参加の可能性も 北朝鮮情勢を懸念

The word underlined is Pyeongchang. I am always fascinated with how Japanese use kanji for Korean places and names, when Korean themselves don’t use them anymore (they write everything in hangeul, even Names). For example, Japanese newspaper, when talking about Korea’s actual president, would write 文在寅(ムンジェイン)when Korean do not usually use the kanji and simply write the name in hangeul. That’s interesting because Japanese could use the sole katakana transcription like they do for other foreign names. But given that Koreans do have kanji names, Japanese media prefer to use them. The problem is the pronunciation. I don’t know how 文在寅 or 平昌 would be pronounced in Japanese but it would be different from the Korean pronunciation. That’s why the Korean pronunciation is given in most cases. In our article, however, it is assumed that everybody can read 平昌 as ピョンチャン.

五輪・ごりん is another way to say オリンピック and is often used after the city’s name: 東京五輪、ロンドン五輪…

情勢・じょうせい means “situation”, “condition”, “circumstances”, “state of affairs”.

懸念・けねん fear, anxiety, concern, apprehension.

The article reports that フレセル (Laura Flessel), French Minister of sports スポーツ相, talked about the possibility for France to not participate in Pyeongchang Winter Olympics: フランスが参加しない可能性.

French team would stay at home if the security cannot be guaranteed: 安全が保証されない場合, referring mainly to North Korea’s recent missile launch ミサイル発射.

The article cites Laura Flessel:


Which in French was:

si (ça s’envenime et qu’)on n’arrive pas à avoir une sécurité affirmée, notre Equipe de France resterait ici.


The French sentence is very strange in fact, Flessel mixed two different ways of expressing condition and hypothesis in French:

type1: possible condition

“if the security is not guaranteed, the French team will stay at home.”


type2: hypothetical condition

“if the security were not guaranteed, the French team would stay at home”.

But what Flessel said is “if the security is not guaranteed, the French team would stay at home”, which sounds strange in French. To me, it looks like she started to express a possible condition and wanted to soften it at the end by saying that all this is only hypothetical.

Anyway… I think that the Japanese translation evokes a possible condition, not a hypothetical one.

The article then reports that Paris has just been chosen to be the host city 開催都市・かいさいとし of 2014 Summer Olympics 夏季五輪・かきごりん.

According to European media, it is the first time that a possible (hypothetical?) abstention is evoked by a cabinet minister 閣僚・かくりょう. The Japanese expression is “平昌五輪の参加を見送る可能性”. I knew the verb “見送る・みおくる” with the meaning “see somebody off”, but I learn right now that it also means “let sth go”, “resign oneself”, “stand by doing nothing”, “put off”.

The article ends citing IOC President Thomas Bach saying that “doors were open for North Korean team’s participation”:


扉・とびら a door

This sentence puzzles me completely… 😲 Shouldn’t it be either:

扉が開いている: the door is open (it is in the state of being open)


扉が開けてある: the door has been opened (intentionally by someone) and is now in the state of being open.

but 扉開いている…



There is a gap between Flessel’s position and the hopes that South Korea President 文在寅(ムンジェイン)uttered in his address to the  UN General Assembly yesterday (September 21st):

My heart is filled with great joy when I imagine North Korean athletes marching into the stadium during the opening ceremony, a South-North Korean joint cheering squad enthusiastically welcoming them alongside the brightly smiling faces of people from all over the world. It is not an impossible dream.


I am curious to see how things will evolve…