March 20 - A new row has erupted over the composition of the Executive Board overseeing Tokyo's preparations for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics with a petition having been set-up to protest against the inclusion of music producer Yasushi Akimoto, creator of the girl group AKB4.
A petition has been published on the internet claiming Akimoto's appointment is inappropriate because many people find AKB4 offensive as they exploit women and are sexist.
The group, named after Akihabara, the area in Tokyo where its theatre is based, has 89 members ranging from girls in their early teens to mid-20s.
But some of the group's songs, which are all written by Akimoto, have been criticised for their sexually suggestive lyrics.
The petition has so far collected 11,000 signatures but organisers hope to reach 100,000.
A spokesman for Tokyo 2020 told insidethegames: "The Tokyo 2020 Multi-Party Leaders' Meeting - the Olympic Board - carefully discussed the executive appointment and reached the best possible list of the Executive Board members from various fields in our society.
"The new Executive Board members will lead the organisation to success of the Games, bringing in their unique capacity in the heart of the organisation."
Tokyo 2020 have been plagued by criticism since they begun appointing top officials after being awarded the Olympics and Paralympics last September.
There had been widespread criticism that the Organising Committee, led by 76-year-old former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshirō Mori, was dominated by former male politicians in their 60s and 70s and lacked female representatives or former athletes.
Besides Akimoto, it also included seven women, the most notable of which was Yuko Arakida, a member of the Japanese volleyball team that won the Olympic gold medals at Montreal 1976, and renowned photographer and film director Mika Ninagawa.
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