TOKYO — The Japanese Olympic Committee is set to meet on Tuesday as questions swirl about its chief, who faces corruption charges in France after an investigation into how Tokyo was chosen to host next year’s Summer Games.
The committee’s president, Tsunekazu Takeda, has said that he is innocent. But the allegations have mired the games in scandal, further damaging the credibility of the Olympics bidding process and casting a shadow over what the Japanese government had hoped would be a showcase for the country’s revival.
Japanese media have widely reported that Mr. Takeda will announce that he plans to resign in June, at the end of his 10th term as president of the committee.
French investigators in December indicted Mr. Takeda — a former Olympic equestrian who is also chairman of the International Olympic Committee’s marketing commission — as part of a criminal investigation into the awarding of the games, which Tokyo won during a 2013 meeting of the Olympic committee in Buenos Aires. Mr. Takeda has said he was questioned by the French authorities but denied their accusations.
Prosecutors in France suspect the process was tainted. They say that hopeful officials representing potential host cities paid bribes to African Olympic committee members to win support. Payments in connection with the process to Papa Massata Diack, a former marketing official from the International Association of Athletics Federations, first raised suspicions among French prosecutors about the decision.
The French authorities had previously sought to extradite Mr. Diack from his home in Senegal on charges that he had helped manipulate the awarding of the 2016 Summer Olympics to Rio de Janeiro. Mr. Diack has said that racism and jealousy are behind the allegations.
In 2016, French prosecutors said that the Tokyo bidding committee had made more than $2 million in payments to Black Tidings, a Singaporean company run by a close friend of Mr. Diack’s. The Japanese authorities have since questioned Mr. Takeda about his role in the payments and concluded that they were for consulting work. The Japanese Olympic Committee maintains the payments were legitimate.
The Tokyo event will be the city’s second time hosting the Summer Games and the country’s fourth games over all, following winter events in Sapporo and Nagano.
Just as the 1964 Tokyo Olympics were intended to show the world that Japan had arrived as an economic power after its near destruction in World War II, the 2020 Summer Games were supposed to be an opportunity to demonstrate the country’s recovery from decades of economic stagnation and 2011’s catastrophic earthquake and nuclear disaster. Tokyo beat out Madrid and Istanbul to host the Summer Games.
Since then, Japan has seen a surge of tourism and a stretch of inconsistent but largely positive economic growth, and the event’s boosters say the games deserve some of the credit. It was also seen as a major political win for Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, who appeared at the closing ceremony of the Rio Games dressed as Super Mario, the red-hatted, overalls-clad character from the Nintendo video games.
But the road to the Olympics has not been a smooth one. Budget overruns have raised questions about the event’s economic benefits. And while officials have attempted to link the games to the reconstruction of Fukushima Prefecture, where the 2011 earthquake unleashed disaster at a nuclear power plant, that connection has served only to highlight the slow and difficult cleanup work that continues.