TOKYO >> Japanese Olympic Committee chief Tsunekazu Takeda has decided to step down at the end of his current term following allegations of corruption tied to Tokyo’s bid to host the 2020 Games.
Takeda, 51, is under investigation by French authorities. He has maintained his innocence.
Takeda’s decision was prompted by the International Olympic Committee’s stance toward the accusations, which they fear could tarnish the image of the Olympic Games.
His resignation would come when his term as committee president ends in June. The committee must now reorganize in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, an unusual move one year prior to an Olympic Games.
Takeda said he also intends to resign as a member of the international committee.
“If President Takeda was indicted by the French authorities and found guilty in a trial, it would be one thing … but I never expected he would have to resign while still presumed to be innocent,” said a senior Japanese committee official.
Takeda was named an international committee member in 2012. The official retirement age of its members is set at 70, but the committee decided to postpone Takeda’s retirement for the Tokyo Games. The international committee shifted its stance following the French investigation, according to a source involved in the Tokyo Games.
Takeda has come under fire both at home and abroad for failing to address the allegations. He skipped various international committee conferences.
Takeda’s departure leaves Morinari Watanabe, 60, president of the International Gymnastics Federation, as the only Japanese member of the international committee.
While few think Takeda’s resignation will adversely affect the management of the 2020 Olympics, some are concerned that the reorganization of the Japanese committee could delay training for athletes.