Thursday 18 February 2021 9:34 am

Japan calms sexism storm by naming Olympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto as Tokyo 2020 Games president

Japan’s Olympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto has been appointed to succeed Yoshiro Mori as president of the Tokyo 2020 Games.

The replacement of Mori, an 83-year-old man who resigned over sexist comments, with Hashimoto, a 56-year-old woman, is a significant one for a country criticised for its overwhelmingly male boardrooms.

Hashimoto is a former Olympic athlete herself who won speed skating bronze in 1992 and competed at seven Games.

She confirmed on Thursday that she had relinquished her ministerial role to head up the organising committee.

Mori quit earlier last month after his suggestion that women talk too much provoked widespread anger.

Initial suggestions that Mori would be replaced by another octogenarian man, 84-year-old former football chief Saburo Kawabuchi, were also criticised.

The delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are due to begin on 23 July, with the Paralympics following a month later.

Preparations continue to be plagued by concerns over the safety of staging an event involving 15,000 people from around the world in a pandemic.

But the International Olympic Committee and Japanese officials have insisted the Games will go ahead this summer.

Hashimoto, who competed in both speed skating and cycling, was chef de mission for Japan at the Rio 2016 Olympics.