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Japanese Olympic chief to quit amid corruption allegations scandal via the Guardian

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Tsunekazu Takeda, 71, who will also step down from the International Olympic Committee, has denied allegations of corruption since the Guardian revealed in May 2016 that the Tokyo Olympic bid team had made payments to a consultancy linked to the son of a disgraced IOC official during the city’s successful bid.

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French prosecutors questioned Takeda in Paris and placed him under formal investigation in December.

While Takeda, who heads the IOC’s marketing commission, has insisted the payments were legitimate compensation for consultancy services, the investigation has cast a shadow over preparations for the Tokyo Olympics, which begin in less than 500 days.

Kyodo news agency quoted sources as saying the IOC was concerned the scandal could continue to tarnish the image of the 2020 Games, and urged Japanese Olympic officials to quickly resolve the matter.

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The Olympics were supposed to highlight Japan’s recovery from the March 2011 triple disaster along its north-east coast, including the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

When he made Tokyo’s final pitch in Buenos Aires in 2013, Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, assured IOC officials that Tokyo would not be affected by the long and complicated task of decommissioning the plant.

Fukushima’s Azuma stadium will host several softball and baseball games in 2020, and the domestic leg of the Olympic torch relay will begin at J-Village, a football training complex near the plant that for several years was used as a base for workers responding to the nuclear crisis.

The recent anniversary of the disaster highlighted the scale of the Fukushima cleanup and lingering fears over radiation levels among residents who are being encouraged to return to towns and villages near the plant.

Plans to end housing subsidies for Fukushima evacuees in March 2021 prompted complaints that their plight was being overlooked in the rush to promote the “reconstruction Olympics”.

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