The president of the Tokyo Olympics organising committee will step down over sexist remarks he made saying women talked too much in meetings

Yoshiro Mori, wearing a black suit, speaks into a microphone

The president of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee will step down over sexist remarks he made saying women talked too much in meetings, according to reports from Reuters, citing multiple sources.

Key points:

  • Shortly after making the comments, Yoshiro Mori apologized and said he would not be resigning
  • Local media reports he will officially announce his resignation on Friday
  • He did not confirm the reports to broadcaster Nippon TV but said he “cannot let this problem prolong”

Yoshiro Mori’s comments, made at a Japanese Olympic Committee board meeting earlier this month, sparked a backlash as discussions ramped up about exactly how the Games, already postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, will be held in 2021.

On Thursday Reuters cited two unnamed sources in reporting that Mori would officially announce his retirement on Friday, after Japanese media, including public broadcaster NHK and The Japan Times, broke the story.

Mori told Nippon TV he would explain himself in a press conference on Friday.

“I must apologise again for this matter,” he told the broadcaster.

At a hastily called news conference on February 4, the 83-year-old former Japanese prime minister retracted his remarks and said they were “inappropriate” and against the Olympic spirit, but at that point he declined to resign.

Pressed then on whether he really thought women talked too much, Mori said: “I don’t listen to women that much lately, so I don’t know.”

Mori served as prime minister for a gaffe-plagued year from April 2000.

His comment on women drew sharp criticism around the world and in the Japanese parliament, where opposition MPs demanded his resignation.

“News is that Mori is going to resign,” Opposition leader Mizuho Fukushima said.

“This is the result of many, many women raising their voices. Of course, this doesn’t resolve the problem. We need to create a society of gender equality in all places. Let’s get to work!”

Reuters’ sources said Mori would be replaced by former Japan Football Association president and mayor of the Olympic village Saburo Kawabuchi.

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