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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 2 March 2021

Tokyo Olympics chief intends to resign over sexist remarks

Pressure has been mounting on Mr Mori to resign over comments and past blunders

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Organising Committee President Yoshiro Mori arrives at a press conference in Tokyo, Japan, 10 June 2020  EPA
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Organising Committee President Yoshiro Mori arrives at a press conference in Tokyo, Japan, 10 June 2020  EPA

Former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori intends to resign as the head of the Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee on Friday, according to Japanese local media reports.

Mr Mori has told executive members of the ruling party that he plans to step down, broadcaster TV Asahi reported, without saying where it got the information from. The report comes in the face of growing criticism from business leaders, politicians and the International Olympic Committee over Mr Mori’s remarks that demeaned women.

The gaffe-prone Mori made the comments last week at an Olympics meeting in response to plans to double the proportion of women on the board of the Japanese Olympic Committee to 40 per cent from 20 per cent. “If you increase the number of women, you have to some extent limit the time for their remarks, otherwise you’ll run into trouble because it will never end,” he said.

Pressure on Mr Mori to step down has mounted after the IOC said in a Tuesday statement that his comments “were absolutely inappropriate and in contradiction to the IOC’s commitments.”

The leader of Japan’s biggest company Toyota Motor Corp., which is also a global Olympics sponsor, said he was “disappointed” by the comments and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Mr Mori’s remarks were not in Japan’s national interests.

The 83-year-old Mr Mori later apologised and retracted his remarks, but said he wouldn’t resign. The move sparked a firestorm of social media comments calling for him to step down.

The Tokyo Olympics organising committee announced it would hold a meeting of its council and executive board Friday to discuss the latest setback for the virus-delayed event.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, one of the most prominent women in Japanese politics, on Wednesday said she wouldn’t attend a meeting with Mr Mori, Olympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto and IOC chief Thomas Bach that is being planned for February 17, the Asahi newspaper said.

About 60 per cent of respondents to a survey carried out by the Mainichi newspaper at the weekend said Mori was not an appropriate person to head the organising committee. The comments touched a nerve domestically, underscoring what many say are patronising and paternalistic views of some senior political leaders.

Published: February 11, 2021 08:35 AM

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