Mori resigned as president of the committee last week after saying women talk too much, a fresh blow to the Olympic Games, already marred by an unprecedented delay of a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, and strong public opposition.

A selection committee began meeting on Tuesday to choose Mori’s successor, with criteria that included a deep understanding of gender equality and diversity, and the ability to attain those values during the Games, organisers have said.

Born days before Japan hosted the 1964 summer Games, Hashimoto took part in four Winter Olympics as a speed skater and three Summer Olympics as a cyclist.

A lawmaker in Japan’s ruling party, Hashimoto, 56, has served as the Olympics minister, doubling as minister for women’s empowerment, since 2019.

Hashimoto told reporters late on Wednesday she had nothing to say.

Hashimoto may be replaced as Olympics minister by Tamayo Marukawa, 50, a former television announcer who was elected to the upper house of parliament as a member of the ruling party in 2007 and previously served as Olympics minister for about a year, the Mainichi daily said.

Mori, 83 and a former prime minister, resigned last Friday after causing an outcry by saying during an Olympic committee meeting that women talk too much. He initially defied calls to step down.

The International Olympic Committee said at the time it was as dedicated as ever to holding the Games and would work hand-in-hand with Mori’s successor.

The Games are set to begin on July 23 despite repeated opinion polls showing that most citizens are opposed to holding them this year due to the pandemic.