Japanese Olympic chief to quit amid corruption allegations scandal
Washington Post: The president of the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) has said he will resign amid allegations of corruption over Tokyo’s successful bid to host the 2020 Games. Tsunekazu Takeda, 71, who will also step down from the International Olympic Committee, has denied allegations of corruption since the Guardian revealed in May 2016 that the Tokyo Olympic bid team had made payments to a consultancy linked to the son of a disgraced IOC official during the city’s successful bid.
Takeda was head of the Tokyo bidding committee when it was awarded the Games in 2013, defeating rival bids from Madrid and Istanbul.
The president said he would resign from both posts when his current term as JOC president ends in June. “I would like to leave the future of the JOC to a younger generation to lead up to Tokyo 2020,” he said during an executive board meeting on Tuesday.
Takeda, who is currently under investigation by French authorities for alleged bribery, has repeatedly denied the allegations.
French prosecutors questioned Takeda in Paris and placed him under formal investigation in December.
While Takeda, who heads the IOC’s marketing commission, has insisted the payments were legitimate compensation for consultancy services, the investigation has cast a shadow over preparations for the Tokyo Olympics, which begin in less than 500 days.
Kyodo news agency quoted sources as saying the IOC was concerned the scandal could continue to tarnish the image of the 2020 Games, and urged Japanese Olympic officials to quickly resolve the matter.
The French investigation centres on two payments, totalling at least $2m (£1.5m), that Tokyo’s bid committee made in July and October 2013 to Black Tidings, an account in Singapore linked to Papa Massata Diack – the son of the disgraced former world athletics chief Lamine Diack – and administered by Ian Tan Tong Han.