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Cursed Olympics? With Mori out, all 4 Tokyo bid leaders now gone

Members of Tokyo's Olympic and Paralympic Games bid are seen raising their fists at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building on Aug. 23, 2013. From foreground right is Yoshiro Mori, then-chair of the Tokyo 2020 council, then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, then-Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose and then-JOC President Tsunekazu Takeda. (Mainichi/Naotsune Umemura)

TOKYO -- With Yoshiro Mori's announced departure as head of Tokyo's Olympic and Paralympic organizing committee, the four people who served as the "face" of the Japanese capital's bid have now all left their positions under irregular circumstances.

    In September 2013, when Tokyo was awarded the right to host the 2020 summer games, Naoki Inose, 74, was governor of Tokyo, Tsunekazu Takeda, 73, was president of the Japan Olympic Committee (JOC), Shinzo Abe, 66, was prime minister, and Yoshiro Mori, 83, was chair of the Tokyo 2020 council that helped oversee the city's bid.

    "Doesn't it seem like the Tokyo Olympics might be cursed?" said one source close to the JOC with a troubled expression.

    Inose resigned the governorship in December 2013 after the discovery that he received about 50 million yen (around $476,390) from Tokushukai Group, an incorporated medical institution.

    In January 2019, it emerged that Takeda was being investigated by French judicial authorities over suspicions of improper activity during the bidding process for the games. Although he had intended to serve another term as JOC president and be in post during the games, he eventually resigned at the end of his then-term in June 2019.

    During his pitch for Tokyo at the Session of the International Olympic Committee in September 2013, then-Prime Minister Abe maintained that the situation at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s meltdown-stricken Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station was "under control." At the official handover ceremony held during the closing ceremony for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Abe took to the stage dressed as popular video game character Mario.

    In March 2020, when the spread of coronavirus infections brought with it the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Abe stressed the importance of the delay being just one year, and appeared set to resign amid their success, but a pre-existing illness forced him to step down in August 2020.

    (Japanese original by Yuta Kobayashi, Sports News Department)

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