TOKYO: Tamayo Marukawa, new Japanese minister for this summer’s Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, said Saturday that she has received a congratulatory letter from International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach on taking office.
Bach “recognizes the appointment of a woman as Tokyo Games minister as a very strong message,” Marukawa told reporters.
She took the ministerial post on Thursday to succeed Seiko Hashimoto, who became new president of the Tokyo Games’ organizing committee to replace Yoshiro Mori, who has resigned over his derogatory remarks about women.
Marukawa said that Bach expressed the IOC’s determination to support Japan in its efforts to ensure gender equality. It is “very reassuring,” she said.
Support from the leaders of the Group of Seven major industrial nations for Japan’s resolve to hold the Tokyo Games in defiance of the coronavirus pandemic “means a lot and we’re encouraged,” Marukawa said.
In a joint statement released Friday, the G-7 leaders said “we support the commitment of Japan to hold the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 in a safe and secure manner this summer as a symbol of global unity in overcoming COVID-19.”
At an online meeting of municipalities hosting foreign Olympic and Paralympic athletes, Marukawa said the government will support efforts by Japanese towns and regions to interact with as many foreign countries and regions as possible.