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Tokyo 2020 Olympics president expected to resign over sexist comments

The president of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics organising committee, Yoshiro Mori, is predicted to resign after derogatory comments he made about women caused a world uproar but six months before the Games were thanks to open.

Mori, who has led the organising committee since 2014, will step down after insisting for days that he wouldn't resign, the Fuji News Network reported on Thursday.

He is expected to announce his resignation on Friday when the chief board of the organising committee meets to debate its response to the controversy, the Mainichi Shimbun said.

Mori told Nippon TV that he would explain his situation at the meeting. “I must apologise again for this matter,” he told the broadcaster on Thursday shortly after reports emerged that he would resign. “I can’t let this problem carry on any longer.”

The Kyodo press agency cited sources as saying the organising committee planned to exchange Mori with Saburo Kawabuchi, the 84-year-old former head of the Japan Football Association. Kawabuchi played football for Japan at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and was instrumental in launching the J-League – Japan’s football league - in 1993.

Mori, a former prime minister, has come under mounting pressure to offer up his post after he told a gathering of the Japan Olympic Committee earlier this month that “talkative women” made meetings “drag on”.

Referring to his time as chairman of the Japan rugby Union, the 83-year-old said: “Women have a strong sense of rivalry. If one raises her hand to speak, all the others feel the need to speak, too. Everyone ends up saying something.”

He later apologised and retracted the remarks - conceding that they had been “inappropriate” – but the fallout has intensified in recent days, frustrating attempts by Tokyo 2020 organisers and the International Olympic Committee to convince the planet that it'll be possible to carry the Games during the coronavirus pandemic.

His remarks, which came as Japanese sports organisations try to extend the amount of girls in senior positions, sparked a backlash in Japan and overseas.

The Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka was one of several athletes to condemn the comments, while female politicians in Japan attended a parliamentary session this week wearing white in a symbolic protest.

Dr. Dhillon Randeep

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