Olympics boss to quit after sexism furore
Tokyo Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori is to resign over sexist remarks that have sparked outrage in Japan and abroad, reports said Thursday.
Multiple major Japanese media outlets, citing anonymous sources, said Mori has told officials of his wish to step down and intends to announce his resignation at a meeting of Games organisers on Friday.
Gaffe-prone Tokyo 2020 boss Mori, 83, has come under increasing pressure after he said last week that women "have difficulty" speaking concisely.
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"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," he said, as some members of the council reportedly laughed.
"Women have a strong sense of rivalry," Mori reportedly added. "If one (female) member raises her hand to speak, all the others feel the need to speak too. Everyone ends up saying something."
He has apologised for the remarks, but dug a deeper hole when he insisted he had heard complaints that women speak at length.
Speaking at a press conference last week, Mori said he was "deeply remorseful" for his remarks and acknowledged that his comments were "inappropriate".
But he added: "I am not thinking of resigning. I have been working hard and devoted myself to helping (the Tokyo Olympics) for seven years. I will not be stepping down."
Politicians and sports stars were quick to condemn the comments, with heavyweight sponsors also saying they ran contrary to the Olympic spirit.
The International Olympic Committee said they considered the matter closed, but then said the remarks were "completely inappropriate" as the backlash grew.
JOC director Kaori Yamaguchi, who has worked to increase the presence of women in the male-dominated sports world, criticised Mori for his comments.
"Gender equality and consideration for people with disabilities were supposed to be a given for the Tokyo Games. It is unfortunate to see the president of the organising committee make such a remark," she said.
The JOC itself decided last year to aim for more than 40 per cent of female members at the board, but as of November, there are just five women among the board's 24 members.
The sexism row has become yet another headache for Olympic organisers and officials already battling public disquiet over holding the Games this summer as the pandemic continues to rage.
- with AFP
Originally published as Olympics boss to quit after sexism furore