The corruption charges related to Tokyo’s winning 2020 Olympic bid have led Japanese Olympic Committee leader Tsunekazu Takeda‘s announcement he will be stepping down from his post at the JOC as well as from his role as member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). (Kyodo)
We reported in January that Takeda had been identified as having been involved in a bribery ring in which the Tokyo 2020 bid committee allegedly paid large sums of money to the tune of 200 million yen ($1.8 million USD) to a Singapore-based Black Tidings’ bank account for ‘consulting’. (Kyodo)
Per Inside the Games at the time, the account holder had been closely tied to Papa Massata Diack, son of the disgraced former International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President Lamine Diack, currently being held in France and facing corruption charges.
“I am extremely sorry for causing the trouble for the public,” Takeda told a news conference today. “For the future of the JOC, it is appropriate for me to leave and have a new young leader, who will shoulder the next generation, take over and pave way for the new era.”
However, Takeda does deny any wrongdoing, saying, “I don’t believe I’ve done anything illegal. It pains me to have created such a fuss, but I believe it is my responsibility to serve out the rest of my term.”
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games’ preparation is well underway and Takeda’s resignation is unlikely to impact those preparations in any big way. But, this situation does place a black cloud over the nation as it enters the ‘less than 500 days to go’ time frame.