Seiko Hashimoto takes over as Tokyo Olympic president

Seiko Hashimoto appeared in seven Olympics – 4 Winter Olympics and three Summer time Olympics. In line with historian Dr Invoice Mallon, her seven appearances is probably the most by any “multi-season” athlete within the video games.

Hashimoto made much more historical past on Thursday in Japan, the place girls are nonetheless uncommon within the boardrooms and positions of political energy.

The 56-year-old Hashimoto was named as president of the Tokyo Olympic organising committee after a gathering of its male-dominated govt board. She replaces 83-year-old Yoshiro Mori, a former Japanese prime minister who was compelled to resign final week after making sexist feedback about girls.

Basically, he stated girls discuss an excessive amount of.

Hashimoto had been serving as the Olympic minister within the cupboard of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. She additionally held a portfolio coping with gender equality and ladies’s empowerment.

She competed in three Summer time Olympics (’88, ’92 and ’96) in biking and in 4 Winter Olympics (’84, ’88, ’92 and ’94) in speedskating. She gained a bronze medal- her solely medal in 1992 in at 1,500 meters in speedskating.

Hashimoto is tied to the Olympics in some ways. She was born in Hokkaido in northern Japan simply 5 days earlier than the opening ceremony of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Her identify “Seiko” comes from “seika,” which interprets as Olympic flame in English.

In line with broadly circulated studies in Japan, Hashimoto was reluctant to take the job and was certainly one of three ultimate candidates thought-about by a range committee headed by 85-year-old Fujio Mitarai of the digicam firm Canon.
The choice committee met for 3 consecutive days, a rushed appointment with the postponed Olympics opening in simply over 5 months in the midst of a pandemic and dealing with myriad issues.

Polls present about 80 per cent of Japanese need the Olympics cancelled or postponed once more. There’s concern about bringing tens of hundreds of athletes and others into Japan, which has managed the coronavirus higher than most international locations.

There’s additionally opposition to the hovering prices.

The official price is USD 15.4 billion, although a number of authorities audits say the value is not less than USD 25 billion, the most costly Summer time Olympics on document in keeping with a College of Oxford research.

Naming a girl might be breakthrough for gender equality in Japan, the place females are under-represented in boardrooms and in politics. Japan ranks 121st out of 153 international locations on the World Financial Discussion board’s annual gender equality rating.

Mori, earlier than stepping down, tried to supply the job final week to 84-year-old Saburo Kawabuchi, a former head of the nation’s soccer federation. However studies of the behind-closed-door deal have been broadly criticized by social media, on Japanese discuss reveals, and in newspaper studies.

Kawabuchi shortly withdrew from additional consideration.

Hashimoto isn’t with out her critics. A Japanese journal in 2014 ran images of her embracing determine skater Daisuke Takahashi at a celebration in the course of the Sochi Olympics, suggesting it was sexual harassment. She later apologized, and Takahashi stated he didn’t really feel harassed.

Two different former Olympians have been additionally reported to have been within the operating for Mori’s job: Yasuhiro Yamashita, the president of the Japanese Olympic Committee who gained gold in judo in 1984, and Mikako Kotani, who gained two bronze medals in synchronized swimming on the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Kotani is the sports activities director for the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee. That committee’s management is dominated by males, who make up 80 per cent of the manager board.

Japan started to roll out vaccines on Wednesday, a vital transfer that may enhance the Olympics. It’s a number of months behind Britain and the USA and different international locations.

Widespread vaccination is unlikely in Japan when the Olympics open on July 23 with 11,000 athletes, adopted by the Paralympics on August 24 with 4,400 athletes. The plan is to maintain the athletes in a “bubble” on the Athletes Village, at venues and at coaching areas. The IOC has stated it won’t require “contributors” to be vaccinated, but it surely encouraging it.

Along with the athletes, tens of hundreds of officers, media, sponsors and broadcasters can even should enter Japan. Lots of them will function exterior the “bubble” in an Olympics that’s be pushed by tv and the billions the IOC receives from promoting broadcast rights.

The primary problem for Hashimoto might be pulling off the torch relay that begins on March 25 in northeastern Japan. It would crisscross the nation with about 10,000 runners, and finish on the opening ceremony in Tokyo.

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