TOKYO -- Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) President Tsunekazu Takeda will announce his intention to resign at a March 19 news conference, a source close to the committee told the Mainichi Shimbun on March 18.
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Takeda, 71, is under investigation by French authorities on suspicion of corruption over Tokyo's successful bid for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.
In the March 19 announcement at a JOC board meeting, Takeda will apparently reassert his innocence and state that he will step down at the end of his present term in June this year to prevent the issue from negatively impacting the Tokyo 2020 Games.
Takeda assumed office in 2001 and is now in his 10th two-year term. JOC rules stipulate that board members must be under 70 when appointed to a term in office, but the committee had planned to make a special exception for Takeda to continue in his post beyond June as he had expressed a strong desire to stay on until the Tokyo Games.
However, Takeda's future became less certain after he was questioned by French law enforcement authorities in December last year. He held a news conference in January at which he denied any wrongdoing. However, the conference lasted just seven minutes and he refused to take questions, drawing sustained public criticism.
Pressure on Takeda to resign built after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voiced concerns that the corruption allegations would tarnish the image of the games. The JOC president has not attended an IOC meeting since the French investigation came to light, and he has not performed any of his duties as an IOC member.
According to a person close to the situation, Takeda firmed up his decision to resign around the beginning of March and had been consulting people around him on the move.
(Japanese original by Kazuhiro Tahara and Tadashi Murakami, Sports News Department)