Tokyo Olympics Head Yoshiro Mori to Resign in Aftermath of Sexist Rant

As of now, the rescheduled 2020 Summer Olympics are set to begin on July 23

Tokyo Olympics Head Yoshiro Mori to Resign Over Sexist Comments
A placard with pictures of Yoshiro Mori, president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee.
Yuichi Yamazaki/Getty Images

After making derogatory comments about women at a Japanese Olympic Committee board of directors meeting in early February, Tokyo Olympic organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori has decided to heed the calls for his resignation and will step down from his role later this week, according to The Associated Press.

During the online board of directors meeting, the 83-year-old Mori, also the former prime minister of Japan, essentially said that women talk too much when asked why there were not more female members on the board of the Japanese Olympic Committee.

“Women are very competitive. When one of them raises her hand, they probably think they have to say something, too. And then everyone says something,” he reportedly said. “If we are going to have more women directors, someone has remarked, then meetings go on for a long time unless we restrict the comments. I’m not saying who that is.”

When news of the comments leaked out, Mori apologized but initially refused to resign. “I am not thinking to resign,” Mori said. “I have been working hard and helped devotedly for seven years. I will not be stepping down.”

Now, with the Games just over five months away from opening on July 23, Mori has apparently changed his mind, and it’s believed his replacement will be Saburo Kawabuchi, the 84-year-old former president of the Japanese soccer association. It is possible the change of heart comes due to pressure from the Switzerland-based International Olympic Committee, which accepted Mori’s apology but also condemned his opinion as “absolutely inappropriate and in contradiction to the IOC’s commitments.”

“Over the past 25 years, the IOC has played an important role in promoting women in and through sport, and it will continue to do so by setting ambitious targets,” the Olympic body said.

Though the IOC did not call for Muri’s resignation, Social Democratic Party Miuzho Fukushima did. “We must tell the world that Japan is a country committed to making a gender-equal society,” Fukushima said. “He (Mori) must step down.” (It’s worth pointing out that Japan currently sits at 121 out of 153 countries in the World Economic Forum’s gender equality rankings.)

In recent polls of the Japanese public, more than 80% of respondents say the Olympics should be postponed or canceled, with the cost of putting on the Games this summer in the middle of a global pandemic potentially rising to more than $25 billion when all is said and done.

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