The former chief of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee expressed concern Thursday that a widening corruption scandal related to last year's major sporting event may negatively affect Sapporo's bid to host the 2030 Winter Games.
"It seems very severe," Seiko Hashimoto, an Olympic medalist-turned-lawmaker, told reporters when asked how a series of revelations of suspected wrongdoing regarding test events for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics could affect efforts by the northern Japan city to host a Winter Games.
Hashimoto, who also served as the country's Olympic minister, said it is important to get to the bottom of the allegations as soon as possible so Sapporo can proceed in its campaign to host the 2030 event.
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The prefectural capital of Hokkaido hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics.
Japanese authorities launched a full investigation earlier this year into allegations of accepting bribes in the selection of Olympic and Paralympic sponsors and of rigging the bidding process for companies to get involved in test events for the games, sending shockwaves through post-Olympics Japan.
"The significance and value of the Tokyo Games have come into question," said Hashimoto, who became chief of the organizing committee months ahead of the games, succeeding former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori who resigned after making sexist remarks.