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Mori to resign as president of Tokyo Games organizing committee


Former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, president of the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, has told those around him that he has decided to resign and is expected to announce his resignation Friday, it was learned on Thursday.

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Mori, 83, criticized in Japan and globally for his inappropriate comments about women, has made the decision because remaining in the post may hinder the smooth preparation for the Tokyo Games scheduled for this summer.

Mori on Thursday met Saburo Kawabuchi, 84, an executive adviser to the Japan Football Association and a councillor to the Tokyo organizing committee, in person and asked him to take over the president’s post, according to sources. Kawabuchi expressed his intention to accept the offer.

The committee will hold a meeting Friday that was originally intended for Mori to apologize again to bring calm to the situation. Mori, however, decided to step down as the criticism about his comments has continued to intensify.

At an extraordinary meeting of the Japanese Olympic Committee on Feb. 3, Mori made the following comments about the JOC’s goal of increasing the number of female board members: “A board meeting with many female members takes a long time” and “Women have a strong sense of competition. If one person raises her hand, others probably feel they have to speak as well.” These comments caused a stir as they were widely perceived as discriminatory against women.

On Feb. 4, Mori held a press conference to retract the remarks, saying: “It was an inappropriate expression that goes against the spirit of the Olympic and Paralympic Games [which upholds gender equality]. I deeply apologize.”

He then stated that he had no intention of resigning.

Soon after Mori’s apology, the International Olympic Committee said it considered the issue closed, but it altered its position and released a statement Tuesday that read in part, “The recent comments of Tokyo 2020 President Mori were absolutely inappropriate and in contradiction to the IOC’s commitments and the reforms of its Olympic Agenda 2020.”

 

As Olympic and Paralympic sponsors have also criticized Mori’s comments, worry had been spreading in the government and the ruling coalition about keeping Mori in the top post of the organizing committee.

Published : February 12, 2021

By : The Japan News