Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Organizing Committee Chairman Seiko Hashimoto speaks during a Tokyo 2020 Executive Council meeting in Tokyo on March 2, 2021 (Photo by Koji Sasahara / POOL / AFP)

Tokyo Olympics organizers on Wednesday approved 12 new female executive board members, less than two weeks after appointing a female president following an embarrassing argument over sexism.

The appointments increase the representation of women on the Tokyo 2020 board from 20% to just over 40%, reaching the target Seiko Hashimoto set when she took the presidency last month.

Seven-time Olympian Hashimoto replaced Yoshiro Mori, 83, who resigned after his claims that women talk too much at meetings sparked an uproar in Japan and abroad.

“Raising the proportion to 42% sends a message to various groups, to the world of sport and to society as a whole, and we hope it will have an impact,” said Hashimoto, who was one of the two women in the team. Japanese cabinet until his resignation. to take up his new position.

“We are increasing the number and welcoming people from all areas of expertise.”

Games chiefs have agreed to change their rules to accommodate the new appointments, allowing a maximum of 45 board members, up from 35 previously.

There were previously seven women on the board.

The new board members include two athletes – Sydney Olympic Marathon gold medalist Naoko Takahashi and two-time Paralympic alpine ski champion Kuniko Obinata.

The other 10 members come from various fields such as sports administration, business and academia, including Mitsue Haga, a representative of the indigenous Ainu people of Japan.

“One of the basic principles of Olympism is that everyone is equal,” said Hashimoto.

“For Japan, the wonderful traditional culture of the Ainu people is a great heritage.”

Tsuyoshi Fukui, a male board member also of the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC), stepped down from his post at Tokyo 2020 on Tuesday.

Mori resigned as president after a national and international outcry over remarks he made to JOC members in early February.

He apologized for the sexist comments while insisting he was repeating complaints made by others, but then dug a deeper hole when he explained that he “doesn’t talk to women much. “.

Hashimoto was named president after Mori’s attempt to choose his successor – an 84-year-old former footballer – was rejected following public criticism.

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