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Tokyo 2020: Japan Olympics minister Hashimoto appointed head of Games

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Japan’s Seiko Hashimoto has been appointed the next Tokyo 2020 president, after her predecessor quit due to sexist comments.

The former Olympics Minister is a seven time Olympian herself, having competed as a cyclist and a speed skater.

Former chief Yoshiro Mori resigned following a backlash, after he was quoted as saying women talk too much.

Another octogenarian male leader was initially billed to replace him, but this was also met with protests.

The Japanese Olympic Committee board currently has 24 members, five of whom are women.

Mr Mori had earlier commented that should the number of female board members increase, they would have to “make sure their speaking time is restricted somewhat, they have difficulty finishing, which is annoying”.

He later apologised for his “inappropriate statement” and added that the priority was to make sure the Olympics were held in July.

Ms Hashimoto said on Thursday that she had resigned from her role as Olympic minister to take on her new position as chief of the Tokyo Games.

The Summer Olympics will begin on 23 July, after already being postponed by a year due to the pandemic.

Who is Seiko Hashimoto?

  • The 56-year-old has served as Japan’s Olympics minister, doubling as minister for women’s empowerment, since 2019
  • The former athlete has taken part in seven Olympics – competing in speed skating at four Winter Games, and track cycling at three Summer Games. In 1992, she won a bronze medal in the women’s 1,500m speed skating event in Albertville, France
  • Her parents reportedly named her after “Seika”, which translates to “Olympic torch” in Japanese
  • With her daughter’s birth in 2000, Ms Hashimoto was the first politician in Japan to take maternity leave while in office – something she campaigned for when she was pregnant. She also became the first upper house lawmaker to give birth while holding office
  • She is married to a policeman, and is a mother of six including three stepchildren

Source: BBC Sport

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