In an effort to push gender equality where the upcoming Tokyo Olympics fall into regard, the committee’s executive board has added 14 women, bringing the total count to 19. Women will now make up 42 percent of the 45 total members. That is according to a report from The Guardian also revealing that a number of resignations coming on Tuesday helped facilitate the move.
Per the report, CEO Toshiro Muto announced as much during an executive board meeting. The names of the 12 new members will be announced later. The change is said to have been championed by new organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto, who took over the reins on the back of former president Yoshiro Mori’s exit. The 83-year-old was forced to retire following derogatory comments about women which is reported to have summed up the view that they talk too much.
Hashimoto had vowed to increase the female count after her appointment. Female involvement stood at 20 percent prior to the former Olympic bronze medal-winning speedskater taking over. She also intimated that the board will now have one female vice president among its seven.
“Regarding the promotion of gender equality, we believe that it is necessary to work with a sense of speed and produce solid results in order to restore the trust in the organizing committee,” she was quoted as saying at the meeting.
Japan sits 121st out of 153 in the World Economic Forum’s gender-equality ranking. The Tokyo Olympic organizing committee, which has around 3,500 in its employ, will be dissolved after the event takes place.
The postponed Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to run from Friday, July 23 to Sunday, August 8, and should garner worldwide attention from fans. A number of outlets, including the top betting sites in the USA, will undoubtedly keep tabs on the competition. The Paralympics are set to follow on August 24.
As for whether or not overseas spectators will be allowed to attend the event is still up in the air. Bloomberg is reporting that the organizers will make a decision in late March. A decision on attendance where domestic fans are concerned should be reached in April.
“Regarding mutant strains [of coronavirus] that’s something we need to thoroughly think of,” Hashimoto said, per The Guardian. “As long as there is anxiety we need to make sure safety and security is going to be maintained,” said Hashimoto. “It’s not about whether it’s difficult or not [to have overseas spectators], it’s whether it would link to the safety and security of the Games for Japanese citizens. That is the priority.”
Bloomberg claims that, at a five-party meeting including the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo government, it was agreed that a decision on international attendees will be announced by March 25. The publication also cites a report from the Mainichi newspaper stating the Japanese government has plans to host the event bereft of a foreign audience, with persons close to the discussions said to be acting as sources.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga insists the government isn’t making such considerations and wants to work together with the International Olympic Committee, the Tokyo government, and the organizing committee, however.
Tokyo Olympics add 12 women to executive board in late gender equality push https://t.co/2hASAgZmzJ
— Guardian news (@guardiannews) March 3, 2021
“Hashimoto’s comments come as Japan prepares to extend by two weeks its second state of emergency in the Tokyo region that is set to expire March 7,” Ayai Tomisawa and Yuki Hagiwara write in Bloomberg. “While daily coronavirus cases have dropped in the capital since hitting a record high in January, Governor Yuriko Koike cautioned on Tuesday that a recent slowing of the pace of decline cast doubt on the ability to lift the emergency.”
Japan shut its doors to foreigners last year, only making dispensation for special circumstances including family reunions and medical treatment. Per the Nikkei newspaper, the country’s leaders are minded to extend exceptions to athletes and coaches after the state of emergency comes to an end.
Photo via: Flickr
Prior to the event being pushed back last year, it was expected that over 600,000 foreigners would be in attendance, with over 11,000 athletes to participate. Various sporting events have been resurrected worldwide, especially given the development of COVID-19 vaccines. The Japanese public, however, spoke out against the hosting of such an event while the pandemic persists, although the Asian nation has reported much fewer infections and deaths compared to other developed countries.
Back in January, a poll conducted by Japanese broadcasters NHK revealed more than three-quarters of persons who took part felt the Olympics should be canceled or postponed again.
Hashimoto says hotels and other tourism-based companies have asked for an early decision in order to give them time to make preparations should visitors be allowed in.