Tokyo 2020 Games on track after turmoil, say organisers

Wed Aug 3, 2016 5:16pm EDT
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RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Tokyo's first woman governor will carry on her predecessor's push to make the city's 2020 Summer Games the ''most innovative'' in history, the head of the Games' organising committee said on Wednesday.

Yuriko Koike, Japan's first female defence minister, was elected governor on Sunday after two predecessors stepped down over scandals that clouded the city's preparations to host the Games.

The head of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee Yoshiro Mori had called the timing of the latest resignation unfortunate, saying it was ''as if one wheel has come off'' ahead of the high-stakes event.

But speaking at the IOC meeting in Rio on Wednesday, Mori, a former prime minister, welcomed Koike, who will be responsible for saving Tokyo's reputation as host for the Games.

''She is a powerful woman with a lot of executive capability,'' Mori said in translated comments, adding he is sure the Games will be a success under her watch.

Japan hopes the Olympics will spur its economy, which is struggling to escape decades of deflation.

On Wednesday, they got a boost when the IOC selected five sports, including baseball, skateboarding and surfing, to feature in the Tokyo Games in an attempt to attract a younger audience.

''I am so happy and so thrilled and I my have lost some of my composure,'' Mori said. ''This was an epoch-making decision today.''

(Reporting by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Neil Robinson)

Tokyo's first woman Governor Yuriko Koike walks past Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games flags as she goes onstage to make a speech at Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Tokyo, Japan, August 2, 2016.    REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon