Tokyo Olympics chief resigns over sexist comments

The head of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic organising committee has resigned, every week after his derogatory comments about women triggered a world backlash.

“My inappropriate remarks have caused chaos, and that i would really like to precise my deepest apologies to the members of the council and executive board, also because the entire community,” Yoshiro Mori, a former Japanese prime minister, told a gathering of the Tokyo 2020 executive board on Friday.

“The important thing is that the Olympic Games are held in July. If i'm getting to be [an obstacle] to their delivery by remaining in my position, then that's something we should always avoid.

“The Games should continue under new leadership, so I’m announcing today that I’m stepping down as president of the organising committee.”

His rumoured successor, Saburō Kawabuchi, withdrew his candidacy on Friday amid criticism that he had been approached by Mori with little discussion or transparency.

Mori’s resignation – and failed plan to install Kawabuchi as his successor – came after the japanese prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, had reportedly suggested appointing a lady , or a younger man, just for Mori to approach Kawabuchi, the 84-year-old “mayor” of the Tokyo athletes’ village and a former chairman of the Japan Football Association.

Fuji News Network reported the government had sought to dam Kawabuchi’s nomination. “We can’t give the impression that things have changed unless we install a lady or see a generational shift,” the broadcaster cited a government source as saying. The Mori controversy had done “serious reputation damage” to the Tokyo Olympics, said one source involved within the Games. The source, requesting anonymity thanks to the sensitivity of the matter, said many officials wanted a lady to exchange Mori.

Local media said the Olympic minister, Seiko Hashimoto, who has represented Japan at the summer and Winter Olympic Games as a track cyclist and speed skater, was being considered as a possible candidate.

The organising committee is to line up a panel – comprising an equal number of men and ladies – to pick a successor, Toshiro Muto, the chief executive of Tokyo 2020, told reporters. “The process has got to be transparent,” he said, adding that Mori’s resignation “should not cause any delay in preparations for the Games”.

Thomas Bach, the top of the International Olympic Committee, said he “fully respects” Mori’s decision to step down and “understands his reasons for doing so”.

Bach added: “At an equivalent time, we might wish to thank him for his outstanding contribution to the organisation of the postponed Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 over the course of the past years.

Dr. Dhillon Randeep

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