Takeda to resign from IOC as well as stepping down as JOC president
Japan’s Tsunekazu Takeda is to resign as an International Olympic Committee member, as well as stepping down as president of the Japanese Olympic Committee in June, in the wake of a corruption scandal, he told a news conference today.
The news comes after Takeda was implicated in a damaging investigation in France over allegations of corruption related to the bidding process for the 2020 Olympic Games.
However, he told the conference today: “I don’t believe I’ve done anything illegal.”
Asked why he does not step down immediately, Takeda replied: “It pains me to have created such a fuss, but I believe it is my responsibility to serve out the rest of my term.”
Takeda, who headed the Tokyo 2020 bid committee, had come under increasing pressure to resign his JOC position in order to prevent the alleged scandal from overshadowing the games.
He said: “I feel very bad that I’m causing a disturbance to the public like this ahead of next year’s games in Tokyo.
“I thought about the JOC’s future and I have come to a conclusion that it is most appropriate to pass the JOC onto younger leaders that will bear the next generation, letting them create Japan’s new era through the Tokyo Olympics.”
It emerged in May 2016 that French investigators were looking into a suspicious payment of S$2.8 million ($2 million) alleged to have been made to Black Tidings, a Singapore-based company led by Ian Tan Tong Han, who has been closely tied to Papa Massata Diack, the son of Lamine Diack, the disgraced former president of the IAAF, track and field’s international governing body.
Diack has been under a French police investigation for corruption at the IAAF, with Black Tidings at the heart of the probe.
Takeda and ex-Tokyo 2020 bid director general Nobumoto Higuchi have insisted that the payment was “a legitimate consultant’s fee” and, in September 2016, an independent panel commissioned by the JOC found that the payments were neither illegal according to Japanese law, nor in breach of the IOC’s code of ethics.
However, it recently emerged that France’s National Financial Prosecutors had placed Takeda under formal investigation for “active corruption” on 10 December.
The IOC responded with a statement saying that its ethics commission “has opened a file and will continue to monitor the situation…”
Takeda was recently retained as a vice-president of the Olympic Council of Asia.
He was one of a group of IOC members implicated in various scandals in recent years. These include: Brazil’s Carlos Nuzman, accused of paying bribes in relation to the Rio 2016 Olympics; Namibia’s Frankie Fredericks, whose membership has been suspended after he was accused of money-laundering and corruption in relation to the same games; Ireland’s Patrick Hickey, accused of involvement in a ticketing scandal that was also connected to the Rio 2016 games; Kuwait’s Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, who has temporarily suspended himself in the wake of allegations of his involvement in a forgery scandal; and Chinese Taipei’s CK Wu, who was accused of financial mismanagement of AIBA, the international boxing federation of which he was president.
Takeda became an IOC member in 2012.