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Tokyo Olympic organizing committee new president Seiko Hashimoto

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Former Olympian Seiko Hashimoto replaces 83-year-old Yoshiro Mori, who was compelled to resign final week after making sexist feedback about ladies.

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

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

The 56-year-old Hashimoto was named president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee after a gathering of its govt board, which is 80% male. She replaces 83-year-old Yoshiro Mori, a former Japanese prime minister who was compelled to resign final week after making sexist feedback about ladies.

Primarily, he stated ladies speak an excessive amount of.

“Now I’m right here to return what I owe as an athlete and to return again what I acquired,”she instructed the board, talking by means of an interpreter in Japanese.

Hashimoto had been serving because the Olympic minister within the cupboard of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. She additionally held a portfolio coping with gender equality and girls’s empowerment. She stated she would get replaced as Olympic minister by Tamayo Marukawa.

She introduced up the difficulty of gender talking to the practically all-male viewers. Though the chief is now a lady, the difficulty of gender inequity in Japan stays.

“Because the background to my choice, I perceive that there’s a gender-parity associated issue,”she stated. She stated she hoped to work on the difficulty however was not particular.

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Hashimoto 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.

Japan-born Naomi Osaka, talking about Hashimoto after her semifinal tennis victory over Serena Williams on the Australian Open, stated “you are seeing the newer technology not tolerate numerous issues.”

“I really feel prefer it’s actually good since you’re pushing ahead, limitations are being damaged down, particularly for females. We’ve needed to struggle for thus many issues simply to be equal. Even numerous issues we nonetheless aren’t equal.”

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The brand new president 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 title “Seiko” comes from “seika,”which interprets as Olympic flame in English.

In accordance with broadly circulated experiences in Japan, Hashimoto was reluctant to take the job and was one among three last 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 course of a pandemic and going through myriad issues.

Polls present about 80% of Japanese need the Olympics canceled or postponed once more. There’s concern about bringing tens of 1000’s of athletes and others into Japan, which has managed the coronavirus higher than most nations.

There’s additionally opposition to the hovering prices.

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The official price is $15.Four billion, although a number of authorities audits say the worth is at the very least $25 billion, the most costly Summer time Olympics on document in accordance with a College of Oxford research.

Naming a lady could possibly be breakthrough for gender equality in Japan, the place females are under-represented in boardrooms and in politics. Japan ranks 121st out of 153 nations 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 experiences of the behind-closed-door deal have been broadly criticized by social media, on Japanese speak reveals, and in newspaper experiences.

Kawabuchi shortly withdrew from additional consideration.

Hashimoto is just not with out her critics. A Japanese journal in 2014 ran images of her embracing determine skater Daisuke Takahashi at a celebration throughout 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 working 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% of the chief board.

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Japan started to roll out vaccines on Wednesday, a important transfer which may enhance the Olympics. It’s a number of months behind Britain and america and different nations.

Widespread vaccination is unlikely in Japan when the Olympics open on July 23 with 11,000 athletes, adopted by the Paralympics on Aug. 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 is not going to require “contributors” to be vaccinated, however it encouraging it.

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Along with the athletes, tens of 1000’s of officers, media, sponsors and broadcasters can even should enter Japan. A lot 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 could possibly 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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