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Tokyo Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori resigns over sexist comments

Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics organising committee head Yoshiro Mori has announced his resignation after his remarks about women ‘talking too much’ were branded sexist globally. The 83-year-old stepped down from the role after seven years of being appointed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Mori tendered his resignation at a special meeting of the organizing committee’s executive members.

Mori’s scandalous comments during a board meeting earlier this month threatened to overshadow the pandemic-hit games. The committee currently has 24 members, five of whom are women. In 2019, the committee set itself a goal of increasing the number of female board directors to 40%. During a recent online and open-to-media JOC meeting, Mori said, “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. We have about seven women at the organising committee, but everyone understands their place.”

The remarks drew flak from all around the world and the country itself. While the International Olympic Committee called the comment “absolutely inappropriate, major sponsors of the games criticised his comments, including Toyota. A group of female lawmakers wore white in a protest against Mori’s comments, with some men doing the same in solidarity. As a sign of protest against comments from Mori, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike also refused to attend a meeting of high-level Olympic officials.

As calls for his resignation increased, Mori initially apologised but refused to resign. He made a big u-turn on Friday as he announced his resignation while apologising for his inappropriate statement. He said, “What is important is to hold the Olympics in July. It must not be the case that my presence becomes an obstacle to that.”

The replacement of Mori has not been appointed yet. However, the hurtful comments has caused more troubles for the games, which is already dealing with increasing Covid-19 cases in Japan. Originally scheduled in last year, Tokyo 2020 is now going to be held from July 23 to August 8. Paralympics will take place from August 24 to September 5.

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