Tokyo Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori found himself in a tough spot after he made “inappropriate” remarks about women, attracting a lot of criticism and protests towards him.
Yoshiro Mori, 83, was quoted as saying ‘women talk too much’ and that meetings with many female board directors would “take a lot of time”.
The inappropriate remarks caused a hell-storm which brought about protests with Mr Mori finding himself with no option but to step down from his seat as Olympics chief.
After the incident, Mr Mori later apologised but at the time of doing so he had not agreed to resign but all that changed when on Friday he issued a press statement apologising for his “inappropriate statement”.
“What is important is to hold the Olympics from July. It must not be the case that my presence becomes an obstacle to that,” he said at a special committee meeting on Friday, where he also announced his resignation.
Mr Mori’s replacement is not yet determined but according to reports, he had initially selected well-known sports administrator Saburo Kawabuchi, 84, to replace him but this only led to more protests. The former Japanese prime minister must be regretting his actions right about now.
His resignation became a hot topic, with increasing pressure over the past week mounting after certain major Olympic sponsors decided to pull out over his comments. Some of the sponsors included world-leading auto manufacturer Toyota.
Toyota’s president Akio Toyoda said the company was “disappointed” in Mr Mori’s remarks and were ready to pull out of the sponsorship deal due to his actions.
Tokyo Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori steps down over sexist comments towards women
Things heated up on Tuesday after a group of female lawmakers including some men decided to wear white as a sign of solidarity and protest against Tokyo Olympics chief’s remarks.
The situation was later aggravated further after Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said she would not attend a meeting of high-level Olympic officials in protest, which sent a negative message towards the committee.
According to local media, almost 400 people have also withdrawn applications to volunteer at the Olympic games, which are scheduled for later this year.
The committee board currently has 24 members, five of whom are women. In 2019, the committee – which is responsible for selecting Japanese Olympians – set itself a goal of increasing the number of female board directors to 40%.
“If we increase the number of female board members, we have to make sure their speaking time is restricted somewhat, they have difficulty finishing, which is annoying,” Mr Mori was quoted as saying.
“We have about seven women at the organising committee, but everyone understands their place.”
Mr Mori is known in the country for a string of gaffes and undiplomatic statements made while in office from 2000 to 2001. He told Japan’s Mainichi newspaper that female family members had also lambasted him after his comments.
“Last night, my wife gave me a thorough scolding. She said: ‘You’ve said something bad again, haven’t you? I’m going to have to suffer again because you’ve antagonised women’,” he said.
“This morning, my daughter and granddaughter scolded me as well,” the paper quoted him as saying.
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