Why is the Japanese Olympic Committee’s head, Takeda retiring ahead of 2020 Tokyo Olympics?Add Answer
Tsunekazu Takeda is stepping down as the president of the Japanese Olympic Committee amid a vote-buying scandal that French investigators suspect helped Tokyo land next year’s Olympics.
Takeda announced Tuesday at the committee’s executive board meeting that he will resign when his term ends in June, and he again denied corruption allegations against him.
The 71-year-old Takeda is also a powerful International Olympic Committee member and the head of its marketing commission. When he resigns, he will lose the IOC membership which is tied to his JOC presidency.
The scandal, which French authorities have been investigating for several years, has cast a long shadow over the Tokyo Olympics and underlines flawed efforts by the IOC to clean up its bidding process. Japan is spending at least $20 billion to organize the games, which open on July 24, 2020.
The favorite to replace Takeda is Yasuhiro Yamashita, a judo gold medalist in the 1984 Olympics.
Takeda has acknowledged he signed off on about $2 million in payments to a Singapore consulting company, Black Tidings, and its head Ian Tan Tong Han. The payments came just before Tokyo was picked in 2013 by the IOC, beating out Istanbul and Madrid.
French investigators have linked Black Tidings to Papa Massata Diack, one of the sons of powerful ex-IOC member Lamine Diack of Senegal. Lamine Diack was known to have huge influence over Olympic voters in Africa.
IOC President Thomas Bach , speaking in December in Tokyo and standing alongside Takeda, described the games as “the best prepared” in history. They have overcome early problems that included a redesign of the new national stadium because of soaring costs, and a plagiarized logo design.
General cost overruns have continued to be an issue for Tokyo, which is spending three times more than it said it would when it was selected. All venues are expected to be ready on time. The new national stadium is to be completed by the end of the year.
Takeda is a distant member of Japan’s royal family, the great grandson of the Meiji emperor who ruled late in the 19th century and into the 20th. He competed in equestrian events in the 1972 and 1976 Olympics.
It seems that JOC head, Tsunekazu Takeda’s resignation is unavoidable now. And the reason is the allegations of corruption for which he is being investigated by French prosecutors.