Former Olympian Seiko Hashimoto (56) has been appointed new Chairman of the Organising Committee of the Tokyo Olympic Games. She succeeds former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori. The 83-year-old Japanese resigned at the end of last week after fuss had arisen over some misogynist statements he had made recently.
Hashimoto was already Olympic Minister and since 2019 in the Cabinet also responsible for emancipation matters. Shes stopping that now. “I do not shy away from any effort to make the Tokyo Games a success,” said the former skater. The 56-year-old Japanese sports greatness would have doubted the position of chairman of the organizing committee earlier this week.
Hashimoto won Olympic bronze in the 1500 metres at the 1992 Albertville Winter Games and was born a few days before the 1964 Summer Games in Tokyo and named after the Olympic flame. Afterwards, she did all the credit to her first name in her sports career. She competed seven times in the Olympic Games between 1984 (Sarajevo) and 1996 (Atlanta) as a skater and as a cyclist. As a result, she still holds the Japanese record for the number of Olympic participations in the women.
An important task of Hashimoto is to increase the support base for the Olympic Games among the Japanese population. The IOC and the Japanese government want to complete the postponed event next summer (23 July – 8 August) under a strict corona protocol. Polls show that 80 percent of the Japanese are against it.
Mori resigned last week after the call for his departure had become louder. Among other things, the former Prime Minister of Japan had said that women talk for far too long during meetings and expressed his irritation. “If we increase the number of female board members, we have to ensure that speaking time is somewhat limited. They have difficulty finishing, which is annoying,” said the President, who later apologized at a press conference. The IOC called the statements “inappropriate” at a time when the pursuit of gender equality is central.
IOC pleased with the choice of perfect woman
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is very pleased with the appointment of Hashimoto as its new chairman. According to President Thomas Bach, she is “the perfect choice.” He applauds that a woman has been chosen.
“ With the appointment of a woman as chairman, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee is also sending out a very important signal regarding gender equality. We are ready to support the committee and other organisations in their desired goals with regard to social issues,” says Bach.
“ My sincere congratulations go to my fellow Olympian Seiko Hashimoto on her appointment as chairman of the organizing committee. With her great Olympic experience, she is the perfect choice for this position. She will ensure that the focus remains on the athletes in the last months of preparation, while taking all the necessary corona measures.”