The International Olympic Committee has nominated Japanese Olympic Committee President Yasuhiro Yamashita for IOC membership, with a formal decision to be discussed in January, its spokesman said Thursday.
The 62-year-old Yamashita, a former judoka and 1984 Los Angeles Games gold medalist, will join International Gymnastics Federation chief Morinari Watanabe as Japan’s second active IOC member if he is elected.
The IOC also named two other candidates for the post — International Tennis Federation President David Haggerty and FIFA President Gianni Infantino, according to IOC spokesman Christian Klaue.
Since IOC members have the right to vote for Olympic host cities, Japan has been seeking a second IOC representative since former JOC President Tsunekazu Takeda resigned from the IOC in March amid allegations of bribery related to Tokyo’s successful bid for the 2020 Games.
Following Takeda’s resignation, IOC President Thomas Bach said he hoped to see the election of a committee member from Japan as soon as possible.
Yamashita’s induction would also be significant for the Japanese judo world, as it would mark the return of a judo practitioner to the Olympic governing body for the first time in nearly a century.
Jigoro Kano, founder of the Kodokan Judo Institute and Japan Sports Association, became the first Japanese IOC member in 1909 and was active until his death in 1938.