Tokyo Olympics 2020: New Video games chief Seiko Hashimoto vows to ‘regain belief’ after sexism row
Hashimoto, a seven-time Olympian, pledged to extend the variety of ladies on the Tokyo 2020 government board from round 20 % to 40 %.
Tokyo: Tokyo 2020’s new president Seiko Hashimoto on Thursday vowed to “regain belief” within the Olympic organising committee after an embarrassing sexism row, with simply over 5 months till the virus-postponed Video games.
Hashimoto, a seven-time Olympian, had been one among simply two ladies in Japan’s cupboard, serving as Olympic minister earlier than stepping all the way down to take the important thing put up.
She replaces 83-year-old Yoshiro Mori, who resigned after saying ladies discuss an excessive amount of in conferences, sparking outcry in Japan and overseas.
“I am positive the Video games are going to draw extra consideration associated to gender equality, and on this regard I’m decided to regain belief, by my fullest endeavours,” she mentioned after her appointment.
She pledged to extend the variety of ladies on the Tokyo 2020 government board from round 20 % to 40 %, and urged Olympic torchbearers and volunteers who had give up in protest at Mori’s feedback to return.
Till Thursday, Hashimoto, 56, was additionally minister for gender equality and girls’s empowerment.
“I recognise that there’s nonetheless quite a lot of acutely aware division of roles in keeping with gender (in Japan). What could be finished to alter that via the organising committee’s reforms is necessary,” she mentioned.
She had reportedly been reluctant to tackle the job, and can face an uphill battle to win over the general public earlier than the Video games are as a result of open on 23 July.
Anti-infection measures needs to be Tokyo 2020’s “prime precedence”, she mentioned, pledging to work to “be certain that the general public each domestically and overseas really feel that is going to be a secure and safe Olympic Video games”.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga mentioned Hashimoto’s years as a dash bicycle owner and velocity skater — profitable bronze in 1992 — could be good preparation.
“She has expertise of competing on the summer season and winter Olympics seven instances. I need her to work laborious to firmly realise the philosophy of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics by making use of that have,” he mentioned.
Choice course of
Mori, a former prime minister, resigned after home and worldwide outcry over remarks he made in early February to members of the Japanese Olympic Committee.
He apologised for the sexist remarks, whereas insisting he was repeating complaints made by others, however then dug a deeper gap when he defined that he “does not communicate to ladies a lot”.
However Hashimoto just isn’t with out baggage and has additionally been concerned in controversy — going through a sexual harassment scandal in 2014 after photographs emerged of her hugging and kissing a male determine skater over 20 years her junior.
The skater mentioned he didn’t assume he had been harassed by the married Hashimoto, who apologised on the time for any “misunderstanding” brought on by the photographs.
“My actions seven years in the past have been deeply regrettable… I’m nonetheless reflecting about what I did,” Hashimoto mentioned after her appointment on Thursday.
Hashimoto’s nomination comes after Mori’s try and handpick his successor — he proposed an 84-year-old ex-footballer — was nixed following public criticism.
A range panel with a 50-50 gender cut up was fashioned to seek out the brand new president, with Hashimoto instantly among the many main candidates.
“The truth that they established 5 standards to decide on the brand new president — which included an understanding of gender equality and human rights — represents actual progress,” mentioned Kazuko Fukuda, a campaigner for girls’s sexual and reproductive rights.
“But it surely’s about ensuring the nation’s gender insurance policies do not take a step again any further,” she warned.
‘Breaking down limitations’
“Having received a medal, participated in seven editions of the Olympic Video games and the Olympic Winter Video games, and having led Japan’s delegation to the Olympic Video games a number of instances, she is the proper selection for this place,” mentioned IOC president Thomas Bach.
“She’s going to be certain that the main focus within the remaining months of preparation stays on the athletes’ expertise whereas planning all the mandatory COVID-19 countermeasures.”
Tennis celebrity Naomi Osaka, a number one face of the Video games in Japan, welcomed Mori’s resignation and his alternative by Hashimoto.
“I really feel prefer it’s actually good since you’re pushing ahead, limitations are being damaged down, particularly for females,” she mentioned.
However challenges lie forward for Hashimoto, with polls displaying round 80 % of individuals in Japan again both cancellation or additional postponement.
Organisers have tried to quell the disquiet by releasing virus rulebooks — however doubts persist, with Tokyo and different areas presently below a COVID-19 state of emergency.
The primary Olympic take a look at occasion of 2021 has already been postponed due to tightened border restrictions below the measures.
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