Tokyo Olympics chief Hashimoto calls for "one team" to win trust
Seiko Hashimoto, the newly installed head of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic organizing committee, asked its staff Friday to unite as "one team" for the success of this summer's games, amid the coronavirus pandemic and low public support for the sporting extravaganza, according to Kyodo News.
A day after assuming her new post, Hashimoto, until then Japan's Olympic minister, is moving to advance preparations for the Summer Games following comments by her predecessor early this month that sparked a sexism row and disrupted the organizing committee's efforts just five months before the event's opening ceremony.
In her first speech to members of the committee, the 56-year-old said she understands how they felt conflicted working for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, which have been gripped by diminishing public support.
"The committee should come together as one team and work toward winning the confidence of the Japanese people," she said in an online message. "By working together with the Tokyo and central governments to take sufficient measures against the coronavirus, it is my huge mission to hold a trusted Tokyo Games."
Hashimoto, a seven-time Olympian, succeeded former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori as committee chief following his resignation last week after a worldwide uproar over sexist remarks.
In the face of criticism from Japanese opposition parties that the organizing committee and Olympics should be politically neutral, Hashimoto said Friday she would leave the Liberal Democratic Party, headed by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.