• Kyodo

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The ratio of female board members at sport governing bodies in Japan stood at 16.1 percent, compared with the 40 percent target set by the government, a Kyodo News survey showed Saturday.

Of 1,089 executive posts at 58 governing bodies that will participate in the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics next summer, women hold only 175.

While the male-to-female ratio of athletes competing in the Tokyo Games is expected to be almost even and the highest ever for women, the poll showed there are not as many females making their way into the ranks where decisions are made.

The poll was conducted between October and November, covering 59 bodies. One body did not answer.

Forty-one bodies, or 70 percent, said they are aware they need to fill more posts with women, while adding they are trying to find the right people.

Under the guidelines set by the Japan Sports Agency, governing bodies are required to have women in 40 percent or more of their executive posts.

But the survey found only three bodies meeting the target — the Japan Swimming Federation for Persons with an Intellectual Disability at 55.6 percent, the Japan Riding Association for the Disabled at 50 percent and the Japan Para Table Tennis Association at 40 percent.

Five bodies, including the Nippon Surfing Association, had no female board members.

“More bodies have become aware that they need female board members. But they have yet to actually appoint women,” said Kaori Yamaguchi, a former judo world champion and a professor at the University of Tsukuba. “If they say there is no right person, it’s obvious they are not serious enough.

“We still have harassment and violence in the sporting world. Old-fashioned bodies cannot prevent such problems and could only exacerbate them.”

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