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Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Tokyo Olympics committee increases female board membership to 40%

Organizers try to burnish games' image after sexism row and chief's resignation

Tokyo 2020 organizing committee President Seiko Hashimoto, right, speaking to media on Feb. 24. She aims to have women make up 40% of the committee's board members.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- The Tokyo Olympics organizing committee on Tuesday said it would appoint 12 new female members to increase women's representation on the board to 40%.

Prior to the meeting, Seiko Hashimoto, president of the Tokyo organizing committee, told media that the board's decision was "important to restore people's trust." She took over the role from former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori on Feb. 18 after he made sexist remarks that sparked domestic and international criticism.

The total number of board members will rise to 45 from the current 34 with the addition of the 12 new female members. There are just seven women on the board now, representing only 20% of the current committee size. These changes will be officially approved on Wednesday.

Sources told Nikkei that Naoko Takahashi, an Olympic marathon gold medalist, and Kuniko Obinata, a Paralympian alpine skier are among those to sign on as new members.

The sudden change comes less than five months before the games are to start.

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