• Kyodo

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The Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Organizing Committee’s councilors announced 12 new female members for the committee’s executive board Wednesday, including Sydney Olympic marathon gold medalist Naoko Takahashi and Paralympic Alpine skier Kuniko Obinata.

The 12 new members bring the number of women on the 45-member board to 19, raising female participation to above the 40% target set by the committee’s new president Seiko Hashimoto.

Also joining the committee as directors are Naoko Saiki, an executive board member of the Japan Rugby Football Union and former chief of the Foreign Ministry’s Economic Affairs Bureau, Kaori Sasaki, the president of eWoman Inc., a networking site for women in business, and Chukyo University sports science professor Kyoko Raita, the head of the Japan Society for Sport and Gender Studies.

In concert with these nominations, the number of seats on the executive board was expanded from 35 to 45.

Hashimoto, a former Olympian herself, took over the committee Feb. 18 after Yoshiro Mori resigned amid a backlash over his sexist remarks during a Japanese Olympic Committee meeting.

Upon taking up her spot as committee president on Feb. 18, Hashimoto promised to push for gender equality, with her 40% target matching the percentage of board members the government calls for in its “governance code” guidelines.

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