The embattled head of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee, Yoshiro Mori, resigns after he was widely criticised for making “inappropriate” remarks about women.
Mr. Mori’s decision comes after more than a week of non-stop criticism about his remarks earlier this month. He initially apologised but said he would not resign at that time.
However, the pressure on him to step down has been steadily increasing, compounded by the more than 400 Olympic and Paralympic volunteers nationwide who had withdrawn in protest.
The 83-year-old said in a Japanese Olympic Committee meeting that women “talk too much” and that meetings with many female board directors would “take a lot of time”.
The backlash against Mr. Mori included criticism from the International Olympic Committee, the Japanese public, corporate sponsors and sports figures.
Mr. Mori, a former Japanese prime minister, is expected to formally step down at a special committee meeting on Friday after making the comments last week.
Major sponsors had also come forward to criticise the comments including Toyota, one of the biggest Olympic backers with president Akio Toyoda saying the company was “disappointed” at the remarks.
On Tuesday, a group of female lawmakers wore white in a protest against his remarks, with some men doing the same in solidarity.
The Japanese Olympic 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,” he said.
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. (Source: BBC)