Tokyo 2020 Chief Mori ‘Set To Stand Down’; Kawabuchi Poised to Take His Place

tokyo 2021 - Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 chief Yoshiro Mori will step down following his remarks about women with Saburo Kawabuchi, a former head of the Japan Football Association, poised to take his place, according to reports.

Mori has been subject to intense criticism since saying in a meeting of the Japanese Olympic Committee that meetings with female participants take a long time and that they talk too much, driven by a “strong sense of rivalry.”

He apologised and retracted his comments while also attempting to justify them, inviting further criticism.


Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

The 83-year-old former prime minister has since been subject to intense criticism around the world with the International Olympic Committee describing his comments as “absolutely inappropriate”.

Olympic sponsors Toyota Motor Corp on Wednesday released a statement in which president Akio Toyoda said:

“It is truly regrettable that (Mori’s comments) are different from the values that Toyota has cherished.”

The controversy has added to the turbulence surrounding the Olympics which are scheduled to start in 161 days, 12 months after they were pushed back a year because of the pandemic.

Kyodo News Agency claim that Mori will announce his resignation on Friday during a special executive meeting of the Games’ organising committee which has been scheduled to address the repercussions of his comments.

According to Kyodo, a person close to Mori quoted him as saying:

“First of all, I have to apologise for causing trouble and say please take care of the rest of the task. What’s important is the success of the Olympics.”

Mori’s remarks have led to more than 1,000 phone calls and emails to the Tokyo metropolitan government.

The organising committee said about 400 volunteers for the games had withdrawn their applications as of Monday.

Kawabuchi is currently the mayor of the Athletes’ Village and was a member of the Japan football team that qualified for the quarter-finals at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo.

The 84-year-old led the professionalisation of football in Japan as one of the founders and the inaugural president of the J-League.

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