Japanese Olympic Games (OJ) Minister Seiko Hashimoto was appointed chairman of the Tokyo2020 organizing committee this Thursday, replacing Yoshiro Mori, who resigned on Friday after sexist statements.
“I will spare no effort for the success of the Tokyo Games,” said Hashimoto, 56, who has already presented the resignation from the post of minister to the prime minister Yoshihide Suga.
The nomination of the former athlete, who competed three times at the Olympic Games and four times at the OJ Winter Games, is considered an important sign, in a country where women remain rare in positions of power. Hashimoto was also responsible in the Government for equality between men and women since September 2019.
Seiko Hashimoto’s personal history also has many links to the Olympic Games. He was born in Hokkaido, Northern Japan, five days after the opening ceremony of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. His name, “Seiko”, comes from “seika”, which means “Olympic flame” in Japanese.
The now responsible for the Tokyo2020 organizing committee competed at the 1988, 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games, on track cycling, and at the Winter Games in 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1994, as an ice speed skater.
Hashimoto won a bronze medal at the Winter Olympics, in 1992, in Albertville, France, in the 1,500 meters of ice speed skating.
The Japanese woman replaces Yoshiro Mori, 83, who was forced to resign on February 12, after making sexist comments, saying that “women have difficulty being concise” during a meeting of the organization she chaired.
“Board meetings with many women in attendance take too long. If the number of female members is increased and the intervention time is not limited, it will be more difficult to conclude them, which is irritating ”, maintained Mori.
The former leader also said that “women have a competitive spirit” and “if one raises his hand [para poder intervir], the others feel obliged to also speak ”, making the meetings take a long time to conclude.
The controversy generated by Muto’s statements, which he himself acknowledged “contrary to the Olympic spirit”, in an apology, led to the dismissal of hundreds of volunteers for the Games and caused profound unease among the event’s sponsors.
Japan ranks 121st in the most recent World Economic Forum report on gender equality, among 153 countries, and 131st in the proportion of women in top positions in business, politics and public administration.