Tokyo 2020 under fire for appointing "sexist" music producer

Thursday, 20 March 2014
By Duncan Mackay

A petition called "No to Yasushi Akimoto" has been set-up to protest about the music producer's appointment to the Executive Board of Tokyo 2020 ©change.orgMarch 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. 
 
The group has sold more than 25 million records since being set-up in 2005 and in 2012 had sales of $229 million (£138 million/€166 million).

But some of the group's songs, which are all written by Akimoto, have been criticised for their sexually suggestive lyrics.

AKB4 are one of Japan's most popular pop groups but have been criticised for their suggestive lyrics and customs ©WikipediaAKB4 are one of Japan's most popular pop groups who have sold more than 25 million records but have been criticised for their suggestive lyrics and customs ©Wikipedia

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.

On Monday (March 17) they made several new appointments in an effort to appease their critics.

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.

Contact the writer of this story at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Related stories
March 2014: Canon chairman appointed Honorary President of Tokyo 2020 as seven women added to Executive Board
March 2014: Tokyo 2020 set to add female members and athletes to Executive Board
February 2014: Japan launch panel to improve its "sports diplomacy" - and it does include women
February 2014: Tokyo 2020 President claims he does not speak English because it is the "enemy's language"
February 2014: Tokyo 2020 officials not too old, claims executive director
comments powered by Disqus