Another International Olympic Committee (IOC) member from Japan is set to be appointed in time for Tokyo 2020 to replace Tsunekazu Takeda following his resignation after being linked to corruption, Thomas Bach revealed here today.
Takeda officially ceased to become an IOC member yesterday after he had resigned last week after being implicated in bribery allegations during Tokyo's successful bid for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
That leaves International Gymnastics Federation President Morinari Watanabe as Japan's only representative.
In recent times, it has become traditional for a country hosting the Olympic Games to have at least two IOC members.
Takeda continues to claim his innocence but both he and the IOC Executive Board decided he should stand down in an effort to stop the scandal overshadowing the build-up to Tokyo 2020.
When asked about his phone conversation with Takeda concerning the resignation, Bach claimed the discussion was "very private and personal" but revealed Takeda had indicated hope for a Japanese successor.
"I think he [Takeda] also wanted to clear the way in the interest of Japan and also of the IOC," the IOC President told a news conference here today.
Bach added: "Japan not only being the host and a very strong member of the Olympic Movement, we are interested in having as soon as possible a member in Japan."
Among the names sure to be considered are Yasuhiro Yamashita, an Olympic judo gold medallist at Los Angeles 1984 and now President of the All Japan Judo Federation.
The 61-year-old is considered the favourite to become the new President of the Japanese Olympic Committee, which Takeda has also resigned from.
Any successors would need to be put forward to the IOC Executive Board by its Members Election Commission, chaired by Britain's Princess Royal.
The Commission also includes four IOC members – Ethiopia's Dagmawit Girmay Berhane, Sweden's Stefan Holm, Fiji's Robin Mitchell and China's Zaiging Yu.
It is completed by Uruguay's Julio César Maglione, an honorary IOC member and President of the International Swimming Federation.
It remains possible that a recommendation could be made to the IOC Executive Board at its next meeting here on May 22 for recommendation to the full Session on June 24 to 26.