Tokyo 2020 chief resigns over sexist comments

Tokyo, Feb 12 (efe-epa).- The president of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee announced his resignation on Friday after a controversy sparked by sexist comments he made last week.

Former prime minister Yoshiro Mori, 83, announced his resignation from the president’s position at a joint session of the committee’s executives and the board of councilors in Tokyo.

“Today, I’m offering my resignation as president of the Tokyo organizing committee,” Mori said, according to state broadcaster NHK.

A decision on Mori’s successor is also expected to be made in the meeting that has been convened to discuss the consequence of Mori’s comments.

Mori said that his “inappropriate remarks caused a lot of confusion” and said he was “feel extremely sorry for causing so much trouble for the executives, the board of councilors and many others”

He also apologized last week after the derogatory comments he made on Feb. 3 came to light.

“Somebody told me that if we increase the number of women (on the board), we have to also restrict their speaking time to an extent. Otherwise they’ll never stop, which is problematic,” Mori said on Feb. 3 during an extraordinary meeting of the Olympic committee in which they discussed increasing the number of women board members from 20 percent to 40 percent.

“The education ministry has been very insistent about choosing female directors. But a board meeting with plenty of women will make it drag on,” Mori said. “Women have a strong sense of rivalry. If one (female) member raises her hand to speak, all the others feel the need to speak too. Everyone ends up saying something.”

His remarks led to an outpouring of criticism from various sectors of the world of politics and sport, both within Japan and abroad, including from the International Olympic Committee, which described his comments as “absolutely inappropriate and in contradiction to the IOC’s commitments and the reforms of its Olympic Agenda 2020.”

While presenting his resignation, Mori said the important thing was for the Olympic Games to be held as scheduled and that he could not stand in the way of preparations.

He also stressed that his intention had not been to demean women, saying the comments had been a “matter of interpretation.”

Mori said he had worked hard to make women more heard than men and highlighted his efforts during his career to integrate more women into the Olympic and Paralympic movements.

The meeting was continuing on Friday to appoint Mori’s replacement.

Among the candidates in the running is the mayor of the Olympic village, Saburo Kawabuchi, and Olympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto, according to the Japanese media reports. EFE-EPA


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