TOKYO (Reuters) – Tokyo Olympic organisers could choose their new president as early as this week, a report said on Monday after former chief Yoshiro Mori resigned over sexist remarks that provoked a global outcry.
Local organisers need to “urgently” pick a new president with just five months left to prepare for the Games amid the COVID-19 pandemic and are setting up a selection committee made up of an equal number of men and women, the group’s chief executive Toshiro Muto said last week.
The selection committee will hold its first meeting at the start of this week, Nippon TV reported, citing unidentified sources. Committee members will submit names of candidates in the days after and could select the new president as soon as this week, the report said.
However, the process could carry over into next week if there is a large number of candidates, Nippon TV said.
Among those being considered to succeed Mori are Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto, a pioneering female lawmaker and seven-time Olympian who is one of only two women in Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s cabinet, media have said.
Hashimoto, born just days before the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, said on Friday she had not been asked to replace Mori.
Others who have been floated to succeed Mori include Mikako Kotani, a two-time Olympian in synchronised swimming, now known as artistic swimming, serves on the Japanese Olympic Committee, and Upper House lawmaker Tamayo Marukawa, a previous Olympics Minister.
Media said another possible candidate was Daichi Suzuki, a former Olympic gold medallist backstroke swimmer who has served as commissioner of the Japan Sports Agency, an organisation aiming to promote sport nationwide.
Another person being considered for the role was Koji Murofushi, a former Olympic gold medallist hammer thrower who has served as the agency’s commissioner since October after succeeding Suzuki.
Mori’s handpicked successor, former Japan Football Association president Saburo Kawabuchi, 84, on Friday, declined the job after publicly accepting it earlier, news reports said.
The Summer Olympics, which were postponed last year due to the pandemic, is scheduled to open July 23.