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From left, Tsunekazu Takeda, Yoshiro Mori and Toshiro Muto at the Tokyo 2020 press conference on Sunday.
Tokyo 2020 leaders meet the media in Sochi


09 Feb 2014
Sochi, Russia: The recently appointed leaders of the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games were introduced to the international media at a Tokyo 2020 press conference in the Main Press Centre of the Sochi Winter Olympics on Sunday morning. Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori and Chief Executive Officer Toshiro Muto were joined by Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda, IOC member, OCA Vice President and Tokyo 2020 Executive Board member.

President Takeda said Tokyo 2020 had made "significant progress" since winning the vote to host the 2020 Olympics five months ago and had established the organising committee on January 24.

Mori, a former Prime Minister of Japan who spent 40 years in politics, congratulated Sochi and Russian President Vladimir Putin for the successful organisation of the opening ceremony on February 7 and for creating a "superb environment" for the athletes.

"At the opening ceremony I could really sense the enthusiasm and passion for the successful hosting of the Games with the all-out power of the nation," said Mori, who added that the sight of the Olympic flame filled him with emotion and further motivated him to stage a successful Olympics and welcome the world to Tokyo in 2020.

Muto, who is Chairman of Daiwa Institute of Research and a former Vice Minister of Finance and Deputy Governor of the Bank of Japan, said it was a "tremendous honour" for Tokyo to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020 and that the IOC decision last September had given the whole of Japan a "major boost."

"I was so excited about the news and I never dreamed that I would be appointed to lead the organising committee at that time," he said.

Muto explained that Tokyo 2020 would be appointing 3,000 staff and recruiting 80,000 volunteers over the next six years.

In the question and answer session, Tokyo 2020 President Mori was asked about the possible inclusion of baseball and softball in the sports programme, despite losing out to wrestling in an IOC vote last September.

Mori explained that in Japan and in Korea - the country of the reporter who asked the question - "a lot of people love baseball" but the key to the issue was for the IOC members to understand and appreciate this.

Mori felt that there was broad support for baseball and softball to return to the sports programme in the flexibility mandate championed by new IOC President Thomas Bach, but it was for the IOC members to decide.

Mori will have a meeting with President Bach on Monday.
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