The International Olympic Committee has welcomed the appointment of Seiko Hashimoto as the new president of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee.
Hashimoto, who is a seven-time Olympian having competed as a cyclist and a speed skater, replaces Yoshiro Mori following the 83-year-old’s resignation last week.
Mori caused uproar when he said that meetings involving women tended to “drag on” and he stepped down after accepting the remarks had “caused chaos”.
“With her great Olympic experience, having won a medal, participated in seven editions of the Olympic Games and the Olympic Winter Games, and having led Japan’s delegation to the Olympic Games multiple times, she is the perfect choice for this position.
“She will ensure that the focus in the final months of preparation remains on the athletes’ experience while planning all the necessary COVID-19 countermeasures.
“Seiko Hashimoto can draw on her rich political experience as a Minister and many other political functions. This will help to deliver safe and successful Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 in partnership between the Organising Committee, the Government of Japan, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the IOC.
“With the appointment of a woman as President, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee is also sending a very important signal with regard to gender equality, which is one of the topics we addressed in Olympic Agenda 2020, the reform programme for the IOC and the Olympic Movement.
“We stand ready to support the OCOG and other organisations in their desired aims within their spheres of responsibility.”
Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka also welcomed the news, adding: “I think for me, what it means is that there’s a lot of things I think people used to accept that used to be said, but you’re seeing the newer generation not tolerate a lot of things.
“I feel like it’s really good because you’re pushing forward, barriers are being broken down, especially for females.”