Published on : 12/02/2021 – 07:41Modified : 12/02/2021 – 08:00
After international outcry over his sexist statements, the chairman of the Tokyo Olympic Games organizing committee, Yoshiro Mori, finally announced his resignation.
Yoshiro Mori, chairman of the organizing committee for the Tokyo Olympics, announced his resignation on Friday (February 12) after an outcry over sexist remarks he made last week.
“My inappropriate statements caused a lot of trouble […]. I want to step down from the presidency today, “Yoshiro Mori, 83, said at a Tokyo-2020 executive board meeting on Friday.
This former Japanese Prime Minister (2000-2001), known for his propensity for blunders, said last week that women had difficulty speaking in a concise manner during meetings, which he found “annoying”. He awkwardly apologized the next day, while initially ruling out resigning. But an avalanche of criticism followed in Japan and abroad.
An already contested successor
In addition, his probable successor, the former footballer Saburo Kawabuchi, even older than Yoshiro Mori (84 years), caused frowns in Japan, and even within the Tokyo-2020 organizing committee, according to the daily Asahi.
“I don’t think naming an old man like him is going to convince the public,” a source involved in the organization told Asahi, saying he expected “debates” at Friday’s meeting.
“It does not make sense for a resigning president to appoint his successor. There are rules to be observed. If this is allowed, then this meeting is useless,” a member of the Tokyo-2020 board also told the Mainichi newspaper.
First leader of the J-League (1991-2002) and then of the Japanese football federation from 2002 to 2008, Saburo Kawabuchi played a key role in the development of professional football in Japan. He currently holds the symbolic function of mayor of the Olympic Village.
Saburo Kawabuchi told several local media that he wanted his predecessor to remain involved in the organization, which caused additional concerns, according to the same newspaper.
Olympic and Paralympic Games Minister Seiko Hashimoto, however, told reporters on Friday that “nothing” had yet been decided. Tokyo-2020 will make a decision “while listening to the opinions of a number of people,” she said, deeming “desirable” to follow a “formal process”.