The president of Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Yoshiro Mori, will step down in the wake of a sexism row he became embroiled in after saying that women talk too much during meetings.
The scandal erupted last week when the 83-year-old former prime minister of Japan commented on the idea of increasing female membership on the Olympics board, saying that, were that to be the case, their speaking times should be restricted because they would “never stop” talking.
“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,” Mori commented.
“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’s remarks triggered public uproar in Japan, with many calling on him to resign.
He apologized, admitting that his comments were inappropriate, but refused to leave his post, underlining that he is in charge of organizing Tokyo’s Olympic Games this coming summer.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) added its weight on the issue, saying that the comments about women made by Mori were “absolutely inappropriate.”
“The recent comments of Tokyo 2020 President Mori were absolutely inappropriate and in contradiction to the IOC’s commitments and the reforms of its Olympic Agenda 2020,” the Olympic body said in a statement.
Tokyo Games sponsors, including major companies such as Asahi Breweries Ltd., Canon Inc. and Mizuho Financial Group raised concerns that Mori’s comments could inflict irreparable harm to the games’ image, as public outrage continued to grow in Japan.
According to local reports, Mori is expected to announce his resignation on Friday during the Organizing Committee’s Executive Board meeting.