The Tokyo Olympic organizing committee on Tuesday convened the first meeting of a panel tasked with selecting its new president, hoping to narrow down candidates quickly after Yoshiro Mori announced his resignation last week over sexist remarks.
The panel, headed by Canon Inc. Chairman Fujio Mitarai, agreed on five criteria for selecting a new president, including "profound knowledge" of the Olympics and Paralympics, and "deep understanding" of principles including gender equality and diversity, the committee said in a statement.
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Toshiro Muto, CEO of the organizing committee, told reporters that the panel will hold its second meeting on Wednesday and will continue its screening process based on the criteria. He did not say whether the panel would narrow down its selection to a single candidate during the meeting.
Mori announced his resignation on Friday following an uproar over derogatory remarks he made about women on Feb. 3 during a Japanese Olympic Committee meeting.
The comments included saying that meetings with many female participants "drag on" as women have a tendency to talk too much.
With less than six months to go until the Olympics are due to begin in Tokyo, the selection panel led by Mitarai, who also serves as honorary president of the organizing committee, is expected to pick a candidate this week for final approval.
Japan's Olympics minister Seiko Hashimoto, seen as a candidate to replace Mori, is reluctant to take the post, people familiar with the matter said.
While the organizing committee has not disclosed the membership of the selection panel, sources said it consists of eight members with an equal number of women and men.
JOC chief Yasuhiro Yamashita, Japan Sports Agency Commissioner Koji Murofushi and former judoka Ayumi Tanimoto are among the members, according to the sources.
The five criteria agreed by the selection panel also include having experience of the global stage and an understanding of the current state of preparations for the Tokyo Games, the committee said.
Its final candidate will need to be endorsed by the organizing committee's executive board.
Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike reiterated Tuesday morning the need for "transparency" in the selection process when she spoke to the press about the first meeting.
Calls for openness in the screening process mounted after Saburo Kawabuchi, a former president of the Japan Football Association, said Thursday that he was asked by Mori to take over as head of the committee.
Kawabuchi told reporters that he was willing to do so and even revealed he had asked Mori to become his adviser. However, Kawabuchi said the following day he would decline after criticism that a new president should not be selected behind closed doors.