New Tokyo Olympics Chief: I’ll Host A Safe And Secure Olympic Games

By Inyama Ndubuisi Calistus on February 21, 2021

Views: 221

Fate played a very important role in bringing former Olympic athlete, Seiko Hashimoto, to prominence as she emerged the new head of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics organising committee, after her predecessor, Yoshiro Mori, resigned after making derogatory remarks about women.

Mori, 83, was forced to step down after saying that women made meetings “drag on” because they “talked too much”. He initially refused to resign and then attempted to appoint his own successor, Saburo Kawabuchi, a former head of the Japan Football Association.

Hashimoto’s appointment comes at a delicate time for the 2020 Games. A bout 80% of the Japanese public say the event – the first to be postponed in the modern Olympics’ 124-year history – should either be cancelled or delayed again.

Hashimoto addressed the media saying she understands there is “great public concern” over hosting the delayed Games during the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking after her appointment just under five months before the Tokyo Games are due to open, the former Olympic track cyclist and speed skater said addressing the coronavirus threat was the most important task she faced, and she vowed to hold a “safe and secure” Games.

“Now I’m here to return what I owe as an athlete,” Hashimoto, who had been serving as Olympics minister, told the organising committee’s executive board. “As I’m taking on such a grave responsibility … I feel I need to brace myself.”

Hashimoto addressed media questions about an incident in 2014 when a magazine ran photographs of her making apparently unwanted advances towards a figure skater, Daisuke Takahashi, during a party after the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

“Both then and now, I deeply regret my behaviour,” she said.

Hashimoto denied any wrongdoing at the time, claiming she had simply shown Takahashi the same affection she would other athletes, who often “hug and kiss each other very naturally”. But she added: “If this invited misunderstanding from other people, I regret it and think I should be careful.”

Takahashi did not lodge a formal complaint and did not think he had been a victim of sexual harassment, his agent said at the time.

Hashimoto, who said she would address the gender imbalance on the organising committee, will remain as an MP but will be replaced as Olympics minister by Tamayo Marukawa, a fellow Liberal Democratic party lawmaker who held the post for a year from 2016.

Hashimoto said the Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, had welcomed her decision to organise a Games that would be “welcomed by the people”.

But her first task will be to address strong opposition to the Tokyo Games among the Japanese public and growing doubts about the wisdom of holding the event during the pandemic.

•PHOTO: Seiko Hashimoto has vowed to hold a ‘safe and secure’ Olympic Games in Japan. Photograph: Issei Kato/Reuters

Source Daily Sports

Posted February 21, 2021


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