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Takeda up for IOC membership: Rogge

Kyodo

International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said Friday he intends to propose Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda as a candidate for new IOC membership next spring.

“My right is to make the proposal and I will make the proposal of Mr. Takeda because I trust him, because I believe he is a very good man and he will be a great asset within the IOC,” Rogge told Kyodo News, adding that Takeda is expected to be elected at an IOC session to be held concurrently with the London Olympics.

Takeda was not among the candidates nominated for IOC membership at the organization’s board meeting in April. That will leave the IOC with no members from Japan for the first time in 103 years when incumbent members Chiharu Igaya and Shunichiro Okano step down at the end of 2011 at the mandatory retirement age of 80. Jigoro Kano became the first Japanese member in 1909.

If elected, Takeda will be the 13th IOC member from Japan. His father, Tsuneyoshi (1909-1992), who was a grandson of Emperor Meiji, also served as an IOC member.

Asked why Takeda was not nominated in April, Rogge said the JOC currently has two IOC members while 123 nations have never had an IOC member.

“To appoint an extra IOC member . . . is a bit difficult because you will give a third member to your country and 123 (nations) are saying we want an IOC member,” he said, adding that the IOC will be operating without any Japanese member for only six months.