Olympics committee to launch next month

Games panel having trouble finding chairman

Kyodo

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee will likely be launched on Jan. 24, whether it has a chairman or not, sources said.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Japanese Olympic Committee want to launch the committee by the beginning of February after selecting a chairman by the end of this month. But the appointment of the chairman was carried over to 2014, the sources said Saturday.

The Olympics organizing committee is required to be set up within five months of the selection of the host country. Tokyo was chosen to host the 2020 Olympics on Sept. 7 at the International Olympic Committee’s general session in Buenos Aires.

JOC President Tsunekazu Takeda admitted that the selection process for the chairman has run into trouble.

“Highly capable people hardly come forward to immediately say they will do (it),” he said. “We want to decide as early as possible in January.”

One candidate, former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, who contributed to Tokyo’s winning bid, cited his age when rejecting the idea of taking over as the face of the Tokyo Games.

“If I think about the physical requirements, I have absolutely no desire to undertake the chairmanship,” Mori, 76, said earlier.

Because a huge amount of money will be needed to meet the committee’s estimated budget of ¥300 billion, support has emerged for two candidates from the business world — Fujio Cho, honorary chairman of Toyota Motor Corp., and Canon Inc. Chairman Fujio Mitarai. Both have declined due to pressing company business and other reasons, industry sources said.

Some observers say the chairman won’t be decided until Tokyo elects its next governor on Feb. 9. Should that happen, the committee will have to be launched without its leader, something Takeda opposes.

“You can’t launch the organizing committee if there is no one at the top,” he said.

According to the sources, the committee will start with a board of 20 directors, a council of three to seven members who select the directors, and a 60-strong secretariat — all under the control of the chairman.

The committee will also have two vice chairmen — posts that are expected to be filled by the JOC president and Tokyo’s deputy governor.

The secretariat will be headed by the secretary-general, who will be assisted by three deputy secretaries-general. The secretariat’s personnel will be increased to around 100 in April and eventually to some 3,000 in seven years, the sources said.

In addition, an advisory conference consisting of senior officials from political and business circles will be established to give advice and proposals to the board, the sources said.