Fate continues to haunt the Tokyo Olympics. The Covid-19 pandemic hangs like a sword of Damocles above the already postponed edition. Now head of the organizing committee, Yoshiro Mori, has announced that he is resigning over sexist comments he made last week.
During an online meeting of the Japan Olympic Committee (JOC) last week, the 83-year-old Japanese mentioned that women talk too much during important meetings.
“Board meetings with many women take longer,” said the former Japanese prime minister, according to Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun. “If more female board members come, we have to make sure their speaking time is limited. They never stop talking which is annoying. When one woman raises her hand to talk, everyone else feels that need too. Then they all want to have their say, ”he continued.
The decision was prompted by a question about the quota that was introduced in 2019 to allow at least 40 percent women to sit on the organizing committee.
The statements went around the world and caused a lot of commotion. Mori withdrew his comments and apologized, but initially said he wouldn’t be leaving.
Sponsors get involved
But yesterday the JOC announced that some important sponsors were very concerned. According to Japanese media, some important brands have emphasized that they are already taking a great risk by supporting an international sporting event during a pandemic. Mori’s statements could lead to advertising at the Games doing more harm than good to the brands.
If more corporate sponsors pulled out now, the already fragile financial foundation of the postponed Games would collapse. Mori’s position had thus become untenable.
The organization could miss the fuss as toothache. The enthusiasm among the Japanese to allow Tokyo 2020 to continue next July was not high before this controversy. In a recent poll, 80 percent of Japanese say they would rather not have a sporting event in their country this summer because of corona, a sharp increase from 51 percent in June. The International Olympic Committee does want the Olympic Games to take place. At the beginning of this month, the committee published the first version of ‘Playbook‘, a script for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.