The International Olympic Committee is leaning toward electing another member from Japan to replace Tsunekazu Takeda, who resigned amid bribery allegations, IOC President Thomas Bach said Wednesday.
A day after Takeda’s resignation was accepted at the IOC’s executive board meeting, Bach said picking another member from Japan made sense ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“Japan, not only being the host next year, but being a very strong member of the Olympic movement — of course we are interested to have, as soon as possible, a member in Japan,” Bach said at a press conference.
Takeda, who is also stepping down as Japanese Olympic Committee chief at the end of his current term in June, is under investigation by French prosecutors for alleged bribery related to Tokyo’s winning bid for the 2020 Games.
When asked about his phone conversation with Takeda concerning the resignation, Bach said the discussion was “very private and personal” but revealed Takeda had indicated hope for a Japanese successor.
“Mr. Takeda wanted to take this decision (to resign) with a view to the executive board (meeting),” Bach said. “(He) did not want to leave any uncertainty.”
“I think he also wanted to clear the way in the interest of Japan, and also of the IOC…to find and identify an IOC member in Japan as soon as possible.”
French investigators suspect part of a 2.8 million Singapore dollar ($2.1 million) sum paid by the Tokyo Games’ bid committee to Singaporean consultancy firm Black Tidings in 2013 went to Papa Massata Diack, a Senegalese man whose father was a powerful member of the IOC at the time.
Takeda was president of the Tokyo 2020 bid committee from 2011 to 2014. He had been a member of the IOC since 2012.