By Paul Osborne

Tokyo 2020 has announced the introduction of an Athletes' Commission and Media Commission during its latest Executive Board meeting ©Tokyo 2020An Athletes' Commission, containing three Olympic gold medallists, has been been set up by Tokyo 2020, the Executive Board announced today during its fourth meeting in the Japanese capital.

Led by Daichi Suzuki, Olympic gold medallist in the 100 metres backstroke at Seoul 1988 and now President of the Japan Swimming Federation, the Tokyo 2020 Athletes' Commission will consist of 21 prominent figures from Japan's sporting community.

It will include another swimmer, Junichi Kawai, who has won 21 Paralympic medals, including five gold, as vice-chairman.

Following previous criticism of the lack of female representation at Tokyo 2020, it is perhaps significant that this Commission is made up of 11 women and 10 men.

Along with Suzuki, there there are two other Olympic gold medallists on the Commission.

They are Naoko Takahashi, winner of the women's marathon at Sydney 2000, and Isao Yoneda, who was part of the Japanese squad that won the team gold medal in gymnastics at Athens 2004, where he also won a bronze on the horizontal bar.

The only other Olympic medallist is freestyle wrestler Tomohiro Matsunaga, who won silver in the 55 kilogram at Beijing 2008. 

Daichi Suzuki will lead the Athletes' Commission for Tokyo 2020 ©Getty ImagesSeoul 1988 Olympic gold medallist Daichi Suzuki, now President of the Japan Swimming Federation, will lead the Athletes' Commission for Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

Former Japanese rugby international Daisuke Ohata is one of the few athletes on the Commission who has never competed in the Olympics or Paralympics but holds the distinction of having scored 69 tries in 58 Tests, a world record.

Other prominent names include Takamasa Anai, winner of the under 100kg category at the 2010 World Judo Championships, and former tennis player Ai Sugiyama, winner of three Grand Slam doubles and who reached a career high of eight in the singles world rankings.

Other members of the Commission includes former badminton player Tadashi Ōtsuka; Mikiko Hagiwara, who played in the Women's National Basketball Association in the United States; ex-wrestler Rika Saito; Chieko Sugawara, a fencer who has competed in the last three Olympics; and Asako Takakura, who represented Japan's women's football team at Atlanta 1996.

It is completed by Keiko Miura, captain of the Japanese hockey team that played at Athens 2004; Akiko Sekine, who competed in the first-ever Olympic triathlon at Sydney 2000; and Mikio Itakura, who took part in shooting at Los Angeles 1984 and, who at the age of 72, is the oldest member of the Commission.

Sydney 2000 Olympic marathon gold medallist Naoko Takahashi has been chosen as part of the Tokyo 2020 Athletes' Commission ©Getty ImagesSydney 2000 Olympic marathon gold medallist Naoko Takahashi has been chosen as part of the Tokyo 2020 Athletes' Commission ©Getty Images

Besides Kawai, there are five other Paralympic athletes on the Commission.

They wheelchair basketball player Shinpei Oikawa, goalball player Masae Komiya, Aki Taguchi from shooting, athlete Wakako Tsuchida and Hirose Takayuki from boccia.

Tokyo 2020 has also established Media Commission which will be led by Hisashi Hieda, chairman and chief executive of Fuji Media Holdings Group and is composed of 36 representatives - 14 female and 22 male.

This Commission consists of a number of prominent media figureheads from across Japan. including Lucy Birmingham, President of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan.

Tokyo 2020 claim each Commission will "bring crucial insights from their respective domains of expertise to the Organising CParalympic Games that will satisfy athletes and media as well as the Olympic Family, spectators and all other stakeholders."

The news of the two Commissions was announced by Tokyo 2020 President Yoshirō Mori during the Executive Board meeting at the ANA InterContinental Tokyo.

"I have attended the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, which gave me the opportunity to renew old friendships with several people from all over the world who are actively involved in the global sporting community," he said.

"And every one of them told me how excited they were and the great expectations they have for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

"To ensure that we are able to fulfil these expectations, we will further strengthen our "All-Japan" team, made up of representatives from a broad cross-section of Japanese society, and accelerate our preparations for the successful delivery of the Games."

Lucy Birmingham, President of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan, has been appointed to the Tokyo 2020 Media Commission ©Lucy BirminghamLucy Birmingham, President of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan, has been appointed to the Tokyo 2020 Media Commission ©Lucy Birmingham

The Athletes' Commission's inaugural meeting is due to take place on October 10, while the Media Commission will first get together as early as next Thursday (September 16).

During its meeting, the Executive Board also agreed that the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee will submit an application to the Cabinet Office to operate as a public interest incorporated foundation.

The Executive Board meeting concluded with the appointment of Hiroshi Sato, former vice-Governor of Tokyo, as Tokyo 2020 vice-director general, while seven new members of the Tokyo 2020 Advisory Meeting were also designated.

They will be announced at a later date.

The Advisory meeting now comprises a total of 175 representatives from major domestic stakeholders.

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