Tokyo Olympic organizing committee gets 28 new members, including seven women

by Masaaki Kameda

Staff Writer

The organizing committee for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games added 28 new members, including Olympic athletes and cultural figures, to its executive board on Monday.

Among the athletes named were hammer thrower Koji Murofushi, gold medalist at the 2004 Athens Games, judoka Ayumi Tanimoto, who won gold in Athens and Beijing in 2008, and Mayumi Narita, who won a total of 20 medals in swimming, including 15 golds, in the Paralympics from 1996 to 2004.

Music producer Yasushi Akimoto, who is behind the success of the popular girl group AKB48, was also appointed to the board, along with renowned photographer and film director Mika Ninagawa.

Seven women were added, apparently in response to a push by the International Olympic Committee calling for more female representation.

“I think (the selection of these members) is good as there is variety,” said Saburo Kawabuchi, former president of the Japan Football Association, who was selected to head the five-member council board just before it approved the new lineup at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building.

Toshiro Muto, chief executive officer of the organizing committee, said the new selections make the executive board well-balanced.

“Women, Olympians and Paralympians joined (the board), so now we have the ‘All Japan’ organization put in place,” Muto said.

He added that he expect the sports figures on the board to contribute actively in light of their experiences at past Olympics.

Other notable figures include Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corp., Rie Tanaka, a gymnast who took part in the 2012 London Games, Yuko Arakida, a gold medalist in women’s volleyball in the 1976 Montreal Olympics, and Upper House member Seiko Hashimoto, chief of the Japanese delegation to the Sochi Winter Games.

With the new appointments, the number of Executive Board members stands at 34, including its president, former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, leaving it one short of capacity.

Fujio Mitarai, former chairman of the Keidanren business organization, accepted the post of honorary president earlier in the day.