The head of Japan's Olympic Committee denied involvement in a suspect payment made before Tokyo was awarded the 2020 Games, while apologising for any possible impact on the hosting of the event.

French investigating magistrates have indicted Tsunekazu Takeda as they probe two payments of 2.8 million Singapore dollars (€1.82 million) made before the Japanese capital was chosen to host the Olympics.

During a nationally televised news conference lasting only seven minutes, Takeda said: "I was never involved in any decision-making process" over the payment.

Takeda added that he had already protested his innocence during questioning by French authorities in Paris on December 10.

He also said the payment was not corruption but "a consultancy contract signed through appropriate approval procedures".

"I'm very sorry that this trouble could possibly affect the Olympic movement," he added, vowing to co-operate with the authorities.

He did not take questions from reporters after making his statement, which was similar to remarks he made on Friday when the charges filed last month emerged.

The affair comes as an unwelcome distraction for 2020 organisers, who have been widely praised for being ahead of schedule with 18 months to go until the opening ceremony next July.

In a statement, Tokyo 2020 said it had "no means of knowing the bid committee's activities", which occurred before the organising committee was set up.

"We believe that the Games were awarded to Tokyo because the city presented the best bid," the statement added.

"There are just 18 months to go until the Tokyo 2020 Games and we intend to carry on preparing for them."
Education Minister Masahiko Shibayama, whose ministry supervises the nation's sports activities, called on Takeda to help lift suspicions by giving clear explanations.

"All we have to do is to go ahead with preparations so that the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics can be an event to be celebrated," Shibayama told a separate news conference.