Ex-Japan PM Mori to head Tokyo 2020 committee

Former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori has accepted a request to become head of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic organizing committee. (Peter Morrison/AP)
January 12, 2014, 11:32 AM

TOKYO — Former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori has accepted a request to become head of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic organizing committee.

Education and sports minister Hakubun Shimomura said Mori expressed informal consent in a meeting Sunday night, Kyodo news agency reported.

The Japanese Olympic Committee is expected to establish the organizing committee on Jan. 24. The 76-year-old Mori initially rejected the request, citing his age.

Mori served as prime minister for one year from April 2000. His term in office was marked by several gaffes including continuing a round of golf after receiving news that the submarine USS Greeneville had accidentally hit and sunk a Japanese fishing ship off the coast of Hawaii during an emergency surface drill in February 2001, resulting in the death of nine students and teachers.

Mori has close ties with Japanese sport. He is president of the Japan Rugby Football Union and helped Tokyo to be chosen for the 2020 bid.

Tsunekazu Takeda, president of the JOC, said the appointment had not been formalized yet but he believed Mori was suitable for the position.

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