Seiko Hashimoto was appointed the new president of the Tokyo Organising Committee after stepping down as Olympic minister Thursday, replacing Yoshiro Mori after his sexist remarks led to his resignation just five months before the games are set to begin, reports Ryusei Takahashi.

So who is Hashimoto? Well, she’s one of Japan’s most famous former Olympians and has extensive administrative experience in the sporting and political worlds. But she also appears to have only reluctantly accepted the post, and she may face questions about her close ties to Mori, while old allegations of sexual harassment against her have also resurfaced, writes Eric Johnston.

Somewhat overshadowed by the change at the top, a COVID-19 working meeting wrapped up Wednesday with games organizers calling criticism of proposed virus countermeasures welcome but premature. They were responding to Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley’s comments that he couldn’t see steps in the “playbook” released by the Tokyo 2020 team working.

Japan's appoints female former Olympian as Tokyo 2020 chief | THE WORLD | ABC NEWS (AUSTRALIA)
Japan’s appoints female former Olympian as Tokyo 2020 chief | THE WORLD | ABC NEWS (AUSTRALIA)

Among the guidelines was a proposed ban on singing and chanting during Olympic and Paralympic events. “That kind of sucks” was American 200-meter world champ Noah Lyles’ blunt reaction to that rule. “I’ve competed in a stadium where the audience was silent and it was extremely weird, I think I would rather have nobody there,” he said last week.

As for the torch relay, Shimane Gov. Tatsuya Maruyama said Wednesday that unless the COVID-19 situation improves in Tokyo, he may cancel planned events to mark the torch’s passage through his prefecture, reports Johnston. Organizers will be hoping his remarks don’t trigger second thoughts among Japan’s other 46 local governors.

Thursday’s (and last Thursday’s) new COVID-19 cases by prefecture (30 or over): Tokyo 445 (434), Saitama 210 (172), Chiba 149 (127), Kanagawa 142 (178), Fukuoka 101 (110), Osaka 89 (141), Aichi 51 (80), Hyogo 46 (53), Ibaraki 39 (47), Hokkaido 32 (92). Source: Japan COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker