World No.3 Naomi Osaka praised the change in Japanese Olympic ministers after former chef Yoshiro Mori resigned for making sexist remarks.
It was announced today that Seiko Hashimoto will take over as head of the Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee. Hashimoto, a former athlete turned politician, is a seven-time Olympian having competed in four Winter Games and three Summer Games in speed skating and speed cycling.
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Hashimoto, 56, was named chairman of the Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee after a meeting of its 80 percent male executive board. She replaces Mori, 83, former Japanese Prime Minister.
Hashimoto’s arrival is not without controversy following a huge outcry in Japan and around the world after Mori claimed women were talking too much at an online committee board meeting.
Fresh out of her semi-final victory over Serena Williams at the Australian Open today, Osaka was asked about the change in power.
She said today’s unveiling was an example of what women have “had to fight for” in the fight against gender bias.
“I think for me what that means is that there are a lot of things that I think people used to accept; things that were said, but you see the new generation don’t tolerate a lot of things, ”she said.
“I feel like it’s really good because as you go along, the barriers are breaking down, especially for women.
“We had to fight for so many things just to be equal. Even a lot of things we’re still not equal. Yeah, I thought that was a good thing.”
Mori, before stepping down, tried to offer the job last week to Saburo Kawabuchi, 84, the former head of the country’s soccer federation. But reports of the closed-door deal have been widely criticized on social media, Japanese talk shows and in newspapers.
Kawabuchi quickly withdrew from any further examination.
Hashimoto is not without his critics. A Japanese magazine in 2014 published photos of its figure skater kissing Daisuke Takahashi at a party during the Sochi Olympics, suggesting it was sexual harassment. She later apologized and Takahashi said he did not feel harassed.
– with AP
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