JOC head stresses need for work to prevent corruption

The head of the Japanese Olympic Committee has told its staff that the sporting body must work to prevent corruption, following cases of alleged bribery and bid-rigging connected to the Tokyo Games.

President Yamashita Yasuhiro was speaking to JOC staff in Tokyo on Thursday, to mark the start of the new year.

Yamashita expressed regret that cases connected to the Tokyo Games could undermine the value of sports and the Olympics.

He said the JOC must start with what it can do now.

The president also referred to the northern city of Sapporo, which is considering a bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics and Paralympics. He said such a bid would be the best chance to convey the appeal of sports and gain understanding for the Olympics.

But he stressed the need to dispel pubic concerns and distrust arising from the bribery case, before promoting a bid campaign.

Yamashita also expressed renewed resolve to support athletes in the run-up to the Asian Games in China in September and the Paris Olympics and Paralympics next year.

He said the JOC must keep up its efforts under any circumstances, to train athletes who will disseminate the value of sports.

A former executive of the Tokyo Games organizing body has been indicted for allegedly receiving bribes from firms for helping them get chosen as sponsors or marketing agents. Authorities are also investigating several companies on suspicion of bid-rigging related to the Games test events.