Yoshiro Mori, chairman of the organizing committee for the Tokyo Olympics, announced his resignation on Friday (February 12th) after an outcry over his sexist remarks last week. But the question of his successor is not yet decided.
“My inappropriate statements caused a lot of trouble (…). I wish to resign from the presidency today ”, Yoshiro Mori, 83, said at a Tokyo 2020 executive board meeting. “What is important is to organize the Games in July. My presence must not become an obstacle ” to this goal, said this former Prime Minister of Japan (2000-2001).
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Yoshiro Mori had said last week that women have difficulty speaking concisely in meetings, which he found “Annoying”. He awkwardly apologized the next day, saying he respected women and instead urged the seven female members (out of 35) of the Tokyo 2020 board to speak out.
Flood of criticism
But a deluge of criticism followed in Japan and abroad. Sportsmen, politicians and sponsors of the Olympic Games had notably stepped up to the plate, denouncing remarks contrary to gender equality and the values of Olympism.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) also ended up judging this week that Yoshiro Mori’s words had been “Completely inappropriate”, after having initially considered that the case was closed in view of his apologies. Several media outlets suggest that Seiko Hashimoto, a former athlete with seven Olympic appearances and one of only two women in government, is now the favorite to replace Yoshiro Mori.