By Nick Butler in Japan House at the Olympic Park in Sochi

Makoto Saika defended the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee from suggestions that many are "too old" for the job ©ITGFebruary 5 - Executive officer of Tokyo 2020 Makoto Saika has "no concerns" about the old age of the Organising Committee members and remains confident that the bid team will "represent all people".

It was announced last month that heading the fledgling Organising Committee will be 70 year old ex-Prime Minister Yoshirō Mori as President and Toshiro Muto, 76, as chief executive - so by 2020 their collective ages will be 159.

This comes in contrast with the situation at the London 2012 where chairman Sebastian Coe was 55 and chief executive Paul Deighton 56 by the time the Games opened.

With another major figure associated with the bid, nternational Olympic Committee member and Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda, already 66, this has led to concerns the team may struggle to create a wide appeal, not to mention cope with the arduous travelling demands essential for officials involved in organising such a large event. 

But Saika dismissed this view when he told insidethegames that he has "no concerns at all" about any age issues and the lack of female representatives at the top of Tokyo 2020.

"Members of the Executive Board are still being selected from up to 25 sporting figures from Japan," he said.

"Obviously some members will be much younger and some members will be female.

"We are united as a team and we will represent all people and feel that our composition will be right for Tokyo 2020."

Yoshiro Mori [third left] and Toshiro Muto [second left] when the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee was named last month ©The Asahi Shimbun/Getty ImagesYoshiro Mori [third left] and Toshiro Muto [second left] when the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee was named last month ©The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images

Saika also claimed Mori, President of the Japanese Rugby Football Union, would not struggle to balance his new role with his involvement in the 2019 Rugby World Cup, which Japan are hosting.

"Mr Mori has always said that he will dedicate 100 per cent to his Organising Committee commitments so there should be no problem there", Saika told insidethegames.

"He is President of the Japan Rugby Union but he is not serving as President of Japan 2019.

Saika added that "we believe that will leave him 100 per cent dedicated to focus on his Olympic and Paralympic commitments", before adding there were no plans Mori to step down from his rugby role.  
Saika was similarly positive about the impact of the election next Sunday (February 9) to select a new Governor of Tokyo after Naoki Inose resigned last December due to a corruption scandal.

"Of course, as a Governor of the host city he or she will be very important to Tokyo 2020 and will certainly play an important part," he said.

"But whoever he or she is I am confident that they will fit into the Governing Body and be fully in support."

The official Tokyo headquarters of the new team was also opened as planned last Saturday (February 1) with 50 staff currently in place and plans to increase this to 100 in the near future.

Sakai was speaking today at a welcoming Ceremony at the Japan House here, where Tokyo 2020 remained at the forefront of attention despite the Winter Olympics getting underway on Friday (February 9). 

The hospitality tent in Japan House aims to "welcome the world" to Tokyo 2020 ©Getty ImagesThe hospitality tent in Japan House aims to "welcome the world" to Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

Sakai, representing the Organising Committee here, admitted that he has not yet had a chance to get some advice on staging a Games from Dmitry Chernyshenko, President and chief executive of Sochi 2014. 

But he claimed he has spoken to various IOC members and that he has a "great feeling in their confidence in Tokyo 2020". 

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