Former speed skater Seiko Hashimoto is poised to be appointed as the new Olympics Minister in Japan, reports in the country have said.
The 54-year-old, who won an Olympic bronze medal at Albertville 1992, could take on the key role with less than a year to go before Tokyo 2020.
Hashimoto will replace Shunichi Suzuki in a cabinet reshuffle planned by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe on Wednesday (September 11), The Mainichi reported.
She has moved into politics after her sporting career and is now an upper house lawmaker and vice president of the Japanese Olympic Committee.
At Rio 2016, she was Chef de Mission for the Japanese team while she has served as a Tokyo 2020 Executive Board member and President of the Japanese Skating Association.
Her Olympic bronze in Albertville came in the 1,500 metres while she also boasts three World Championship medals.
As well as speed skating, Hashimoto has competed as a cyclist, winning individual pursuit bronze at the Asian Games in 1994.
However, she was embroiled in controversy at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics when she was seen kissing and embracing figure skater Daisuke Takahashi at a party.
Japanese magazine Shukan Bunshun claimed that Hashimoto "pounced" on the athlete, then 28, which led to allegations of sexual harassment.
Hashimoto denied the allegations and Takahashi said he had not been harassed, although the official issued an apology.
Suzuki was only appointed as Olympics Minister in April for a second spell after replacing the controversial Yoshitaka Sakurada.
He had previously served from August 2017 to October 2018 before Sakurada took over.
In April, Abe said Suzuki's reappointment was to "restore trust" in the Tokyo 2020 role.
Sakurada was forced to resign after remarks that offended people affected by the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami which triggered nuclear meltdowns in 2011.
He said that Liberal Democratic Party politician Hinako Takahashi, from the northeastern region, is "more important than the [region's] recovery", when he gave a speech at a fundraising party.
Nearly 16,000 people died in the tragedy.
Other controversies surrounding Sakurada include his comments on Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee, who was diagnosed with leukemia.
He said he was "really disappointed" that the six-time Asian Games champion might not be able to compete at Tokyo 2020 and that he was worried "the swell" for the Games "might go down a bit".
Sakurada, who doubled as the Government's cyber security strategy chief, also admitted that he does not use a computer.
Abe apologised for his appointment.