Tokyo Olympics chief expected to resign after sexist remarks

Tokyo Olympics chief expected to resign after sexist remarks
© Photo by TAKASHI AOYAMA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The president of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee is reportedly set to resign amid an outcry over comments he made earlier this month that women talk too much at board meetings. 

Yoshiro Mori, who previously served as Japan’s prime minister from 2000 to 2001, is expected to step down on Friday when the Olympic organizing committee’s executive board meets, according to reports from multiple news outlets, including Japan’s Kyodo news agency.

He is expected to be replaced by former Japan Football Association President Saburo Kawabuchi.  

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Mori made the claim, which has been widely criticized as sexist, during a virtual meeting of the Japanese Olympic Committee board of directors while responding to a question on the committee's plan to increase female representation on the board, according to the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun. 

"On boards with a lot of women, the board meetings take so much time," Mori said at the time.

"Women have a strong sense of competition. If one person raises their hand, others probably think, 'I need to say something, too.' That's why everyone speaks," he added.

He also said that when you "increase the number of female executive members, if their speaking time isn't restricted to a certain extent, they have difficulty finishing, which is annoying." 

Mori last week apologized for the comments but refused to resign, saying that he has “been working hard and helped devotedly for seven years.”

“The statement made at the Japan Olympic Committee was an inappropriate expression, contrary to the spirit of the Olympics and Paralympics,” Mori said. “I am deeply remorseful. I would like to withdraw the statement. I would like to apologize for any unpleasant feelings.”

The Tokyo Olympics are set to open July 23 after being delayed a year amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, some have expressed concerns that the games could spread infections if they are held as planned.