Yoshiro Mori: Tokyo Olympics chief to step down over sexism row
The head of the Tokyo Olympics organising committee is set to resign after he was criticised for making “inappropriate” remarks about women.
Yoshiro Mori, 83, was quoted as saying women talk too much and that meetings with many female board directors would “take a lot of time”.
The remarks set off a firestorm of protest and Mr Mori apologised at the time but said he would not resign.
However, the pressure on him to step down had been steadily increasing.
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.
Toyota’s president Akio Toyoda said 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.
According to local media, almost 400 people have also withdrawn applications to volunteer at the Olympic games, which are scheduled for later this year.
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The 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.