Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda, currently being investigated by French authorities for alleged bribery related to Tokyo's bid for the 2020 Olympics, will soon face mounting calls for his resignation, multiple official sources said Friday.
The JOC will hold elections for its board of councilors and board of directors in June and July, and some are concerned the ongoing investigation will detract from the coming Olympics and make it difficult for Takeda to remain in his post.
Yasuhiro Yamashita, the 61-year-old head of the Japan Judo Federation, is being spoke of as a possible successor to run the JOC with Takeda taking on a role as president emeritus.
The 71-year-old Takeda has asserted he did nothing wrong in his role as head of the Tokyo Olympic bid committee, which paid roughly $2 million to a Singapore firm, ostensibly for consulting.
But with the investigation unlikely to wrap up anytime soon, it will be hard for Takeda to erase the bad publicity before the start of next year's Olympics. Because of that, some have started to call for his resignation.
Takeda became JOC president in 2001 and is now serving his 10th term, and no rivals for his position have emerged ahead of the next election.
Yet, his continuing in his post would run counter to the current mood in Japan's sports world. Following a recent string of sports scandals, calls have increased for stronger governance rules. A growing number see repeatedly re-electing the same officials to run sports bodies as leading to more rigid policies rather than reform.
Seiko Hashimoto, head of the Japan Skating Federation, has also been raised as a potential candidate to run the JOC, although some believe the JOC position might prove hard for the 54-year-old to balance along with her job as a member of the Japanese parliament.
Asked to comment about the situation, Takeda said, "There's only one truth, and it's my desire to prove that."