• Kyodo, staff report


Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto is ready to accept a request that she become the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee’s new president, a source familiar with the matter said Thursday.

About a week after Yoshiro Mori announced his resignation over sexist remarks, the organizing committee’s executive board is expected to endorse her as its chief.

The panel of the organizing committee in charge of choosing a candidate for the job decided earlier to ask the 56-year-old to take over.

Hashimoto had earlier said on multiple occasions that she is not interested in leaving her current position to replace Mori, the 83-year-old former prime minister who said during a meeting earlier this month that women are competitive and talk too much.

Several names were floated as the candidate selection panel held meetings Tuesday and Wednesday. On the first day, the organizing committee said it would choose a single candidate based on five criteria: a deep knowledge of the Olympic and Paralympic Games; an understanding of its principles concerning gender, inclusivity and diversity; work experience; knowledge of the Tokyo Games; and management skills.

The selection panel, chaired by honorary chairman Fujio Mitarai, is slated to hold another meeting Thursday.

Hashimoto, a member in the Upper House of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, is a former Olympian that competed in seven games, including four Winter Olympics as a speed skater and three Summer Olympics as a track cyclist. She won the bronze medal for speed skating at the 1992 Winter Olympics in France.

Mori handpicked former Japan Football Association President Saburo Kawabuchi as his successor, but that fell through after organizers and officials cried foul that the outgoing president was choosing his own successor.

The first name to be floated after that was Hashimoto. Other possible candidates surfaced include Yasuhiro Yamashita, chairman of the Japanese Olympic Committee, and Mikako Kotani, a former Olympic medalist and an executive board member on the organizing committee.

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