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Another Blow to Troubled Tokyo Olympics

Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori expected to resign over sexist remarks
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2021 7:42 AM CST

(Newser) – The chief of the postponed Tokyo Olympics is apparently feeling the pressure, because after refusing to resign for sexist comments he made on Feb. 3, he's now expected to call it quits. Former Japanese prime minister Yoshiro Mori, 83, is expected to resign during a Friday meeting of the Olympic organizing committee, called for the purpose of discussing his comments, sources tell the Wall Street Journal and Japan Times. Though Mori apologized for saying board meetings with too many women "drag on" and that additional female members would have to have their speech "restricted," he previously said he wouldn't resign because he'd worked so hard to bring the Games to fruition. "Since then, a backlash, including criticism from the International Olympic Committee, the Japanese public, corporate sponsors and sports figures, has hit Mr. Mori hard," the Journal reports.

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It didn't help that Mori, while defending his comments, said he "doesn't speak to women much," per the Times. Sponsors including Toyota voiced their displeasure, while hundreds of Olympic volunteers quit. A Kyodo News poll conducted over the weekend found 60% of Japanese people thought Mori wasn't qualified for the job, while 82% wanted to cancel or further postpone what will be the most expensive Olympics ever, with a budget of more than $15 billion. Mori's resignation will now trigger "an unusual and disruptive leadership transition" less than six months before the Games' July 23 start date, per the Journal. Saburo Kawabuchi, 84, the symbolic mayor of the Olympic Village and a former head of the Japan Football Association, is likely to take over. If selected, "I'll make my best efforts," he told reporters after meeting with Mori on Thursday, per the Journal. (Read more 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games stories.)

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