(TOKYO) Yoshiro Mori, president of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Organizing Committee, is about to step down after a protest in Japan and abroad over his sexual remarks last week, Japanese media reported Thursday.
Several major Japanese media outlets, citing sources familiar with the matter, claimed that Mr. Mori, 83, had informed officials of his desire to resign and announced it during a meeting of Tokyo 2020 organizers on Friday.
The Tokyo-2020 press service was not immediately available for comment on this information.
Mori, the 83-year-old former Japanese prime minister known for his verbal tardiness, said last week that women find it difficult to speak in a succinct manner, which is “upsetting”. He embarrassedly apologized the next day, while at first ruling out resigning.
A torrent of criticism followed, in Japan and abroad. Even Olympic sponsors, who are usually conservative, have stepped up in recent days, like auto giant Toyota, also claiming that Mr. Mori’s statements are inconsistent with the Olympic spirit and the values they uphold.
Initially, after Mr Morey’s apology, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) held the case closed, before Tuesday assessing that his words were “totally inappropriate,” while reactions were more vigorous.
Friday crisis meeting
This scandal is a new thorn in the face of Tokyo 2020 organizers, who were already struggling to revive enthusiasm for the Games (July 23 – August 8, 2021), which was postponed last year due to the pandemic, while the global health context remains. worrying.
Athletes such as Japanese women’s tennis star Naomi Osaka, Olympic volunteers, representatives elected to the parliamentary opposition in Japan or even members of embassy staff in Tokyo have protested in various ways in recent days after the Mori case.
Tokyo Mayor Yuriko Koike increased the pressure on Wednesday by announcing that it had no intention of attending a meeting of all stakeholders in the Olympics scheduled for later this month, against the backdrop of Mr. Mori’s comments.
A petition was launched online a week ago, urging Olympic officials not to stand still, surpassing 146,000 signatures on Thursday.
Tokyo 2020 organizers will meet on Friday to “express their views on Mr. Mori’s remarks” and discuss their “future initiatives” on gender equality, according to a statement released Wednesday.
According to Japanese TV channels TBS and NTV, former footballer Sapporo Kwabuchi, 84, could be appointed instead of Mori.
Mr. Kwabuchi played a major role in the 1990s in developing professional football and spreading the sport in Japan. He is also currently holding the symbolic position of mayor of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Village.
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