Seiko Hashimoto takes over as Tokyo 2020 chief after sexism scandal

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Olympics minister replaces 83-year-old Yoshiro Mori, who resigned final week after making sexist feedback about ladies.

Japan’s Olympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto, a former Olympian who competed in seven Games, has taken over as Tokyo 2020’s new president after the earlier chief was compelled out over sexist feedback.

She was named president of the Tokyo Olympic organising committee on Thursday after a gathering of its male-dominated government board.

Hashimoto replaces 83-year-old Yoshiro Mori, a former Japanese prime minister who resigned final week after making sexist feedback about ladies.

Following her appointment, Hashimoto mentioned she would “spare no effort for the success of the Tokyo Games”.

Earlier on Thursday, the 56-year-old stepped down as considered one of simply two ladies in Japan’s cupboard to take up her new submit.

In addition to her function because the Olympic minister within the cupboard of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Hashimoto additionally held a portfolio coping with gender equality and ladies’s empowerment.

She competed as a bicycle owner in three Summer Olympics and as a speedskater in 4 Winter Olympics. She gained a bronze medal – her solely medal – in 1992 in at 1,500 meters in speedskating.

Hashimoto was born in 1964 in Japan’s northern Hokkaido area, simply 5 days earlier than the opening ceremony of the final Tokyo Olympics and her dad and mom drew inspiration from the lighting of the Olympic flame – seika in Japanese – when naming her.

She recounts rising up being consistently informed by her father “‘you were born to go to the Olympics’… even before I knew that the Olympics was”.

Her appointment comes simply over 5 months earlier than the virus-postponed Games, with public opinion in Japan nonetheless largely in opposition to holding the huge occasion this yr.

There are fears about bringing tens of 1000’s of athletes, followers, and assist groups into Japan, which has managed the coronavirus higher than most international locations.

There can be opposition to the hovering prices.

The official value is $15.4bn, although a number of authorities audits say the worth is not less than $25bn, the most costly Summer Olympics on report, based on a University of Oxford examine.

Naming a lady because the president of Tokyo 2020 might be breakthrough for gender equality in Japan, the place females are underrepresented in boardrooms and in politics. Japan ranks 121st out of 153 international locations on the World Economic Forum’s annual gender equality rating.

Hashimoto has referred to as cancellation or one other postponement “inconceivable”, echoing the emotions of Tokyo 2020 organisers and the International Olympic Committee.

“For the Games next year, athletes are continuing to work hard in the environments they find themselves in. So, I feel we have to hold it at any cost,” she had mentioned in September final yr.

Suga, the Japanese prime minister, is prone to identify Tamayo Marukawa, a former tv announcer and ruling occasion legislator, to Hashimoto’s submit, NHK public tv mentioned.

Marukawa, 50, beforehand held the job for a couple of yr.