Deputy to take on Olympic role

Kyodo

Tokyo Vice Gov. Toshiyuki Akiyama will fill in for Naoki Inose, who announced his resignation as governor Thursday, as the city prepares to launch an organizing committee early next year for the 2020 Olympics.

At a meeting Friday, education and sports minister Hakubun Shimomura and Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda confirmed that Akiyama will take charge of Olympic-related matters for the Tokyo Metropolitan Government until February’s gubernatorial election.

“We agreed the three of us will continue preparations with speed and briskness . . . (and) to pick a managing director as soon as possible,” Shimomura said afterward.

Inose stepped down as governor last week for accepting ¥50 million from the operator of a large network of medical facilities that is now at the center of a probe into election campaign finance violations.

Emphasizing the Olympic organizing committee will begin work in January, as scheduled, Takeda said: “It’s extremely disappointing Inose has had to quit like this, but we haven’t stalled in any way (in preparing for the 2020 Games).”

Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee has given Tokyo a vote of confidence following Inose’s departure.

“The organizing committee should be established during the five months following the election of the city at the IOC session, as this is part of the agreement between the host city, the national Olympic committee and the IOC,” it said. “At this point in time, we have no reason to believe that this will not be the case in Tokyo.”