Japan's Olympic minister since 2019, Seiko Hashimoto, added another feather to her already colourful cap by becoming president of the Olympic organising committee, months before the Tokyo Olympics take off.
Hashimoto, who replaced former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, was one of the only two women in the cabinet before stepping down to take over as Tokyo Olympics president.
83-year-old Yoshiro Mori stepped down from his position as Tokyo Olympics president last week after sparking outrage in Japan and abroad over derogatory remarks about women.
Following his resignation, the Olympic organising committee's executive board held a series of meetings in search of someone who could put a limit to the sexism row and attend to the challenges threatening the Tokyo Olympics.
Newly Appointed 2021 Tokyo Olympics President Hashimoto Competed For Japan In 7 Olympic Games
The 56-year old newly appointed Tokyo Olympics president competed in four winter Olympics (1984,1988,1992,1994) as a speed skater and went on to bag a bronze in the 1,500 meters at the 1992 Olympic Games in Albertville. She also took part in a total of three Summer Olympics (1988,1992,1996) as a track cyclist.
She finished third at the 1989 Heerenveen World Sprint Championships. She won two gold medals in 500m and 1500m at the Asian Winter Olympics in 1986. Four years later, she continued her extraordinary run of success at the 1990 Asian Winter Games in Sapporo and racked up a total of four gold medals in different events.
Hashimoto tied to the Olympics in many ways
Born days before Tokyo hosted the 1964 Olympics, Hashimoto is an MP representing the ruling Liberal Democratic party in Japan.
Her name, 'Seiko', originates from the term 'Seika', meaning Olympic flame in Japanese. She is in charge of gender equality and women’s empowerment movements.
Hashimoto's appointment marks the latest step in Olympic progress for women
Some believe that the appointment of a female president could be a quantum leap in terms of gender equality in Japan, where women are still relegated to contributing minimally to the social development of the country. On a closer look, Hashimoto's appointment marks the latest step in Olympic progress for women.