Tokyo Braces Itself For Olympics 2020 As Japanese PM Shows Up As Super Mario

As Rio Olympics drew to a close on Sunday, the crowd was in for a surprise

The name Shinzo Abe may not ring a bell a whole lot if you aren’t much of an observer of world politics. However, like with most things, the Japanese sense of innovation meant that Abe, their Prime Minister was among the most recognizable men in the world, albeit for a few minutes.

As the Rio Olympics drew to a close on Sunday night, the Maracana Stadium in Rio De Janeiro witnessed Japan make its presence felt as the next host of the quadrennial event in 2020. Prime Minister Abe, dressed up as Super Mario, popped up out of a green pipe and held center stage as computer holograms dominated the presentation on Japan hosting the Olympics 4 years from now.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 21: Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appears during the 'Love Sport Tokyo 2020' segment during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracana Stadium on August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

The 61-yr old stood holding a big red ball and waving the plumber’s hat, which has gained recognition the world over for being the trademark of Super Mario, Japan’s biggest cultural export. The act turned out to be a nice plug for  Nintendo Co., the creator of the franchise that has made Mario, Zelda and other beloved characters, as the company shares rose about 3 percent.

At this time, it isn’t clear if Nintendo will be associated with the event as a sponsor in any way.

Super Mario debuted as a plumber in Nintendo’s early video games about three decades ago. For years, the Japanese government has used public funds to hire workers and update the country’s urban waterworks to stimulate the sluggish economy.

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