Seiko Hashimoto has been appointment the new president of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Organizing Committee, just five months before the “due date”.
This decision came a week after the resignation of Yoshiro Mori (83), who was forced to resign after making a sexist comment about women.
The 56‑year old Hashimoto has performed as an athlete in four winter and three summer Olympics as a track cyclist and speed skater and won a bronze medal at the 1992 Albertville Games in speedskating.
Hashimoto said: “Now I’m here to return what I owe as an athlete,” Hashimoto told the organising committee’s executive board.
“As I’m taking on such a grave responsibility … I feel I need to brace myself.”
Until today, Hashimoto held the role of a Minister for Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, Minister in charge of Women’s Empowerment and Minister of State for Gender Equality in the Government of Japan.
IOC President Thomas Bach said “she is the perfect choice for this position”.
“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.”
In her short speech to the committee, Hashimoto addressed the coronavirus threat and the importance of reassuring the public in Japan and abroad of delivering “safe and secure” Games this summer.
Feature image: The Guardian ‑ Issei Kato/Reuters