KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Yoshiro Mori has quit as head of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games organising committee because of upset sparked by his sexist comments.
The 83-year-old Mori former prime minister had apologised for comments that women board members talked too much, accepting his words were “inappropriate” and against the Olympic spirit. That was not sufficient to quell the storm which had prompted withdrawal threats from some local sponsors and Games volunteers.
Mori tendered his resignation during an executive council meeting. This was accepted with the appointment of a successor expected next week.
An early favourite was Saburo Kawabuchi, the former hedad of the Japanese football federation and man who launched the successful J.League in the 1990s. More recently, he was appointed mayor of the athletes’ village for the Tokyo 2020 Games.
Kawabuchi has indicated his willingness to accept the role but this is not necessarily a done deal, partly because Mori had informally recommended him.
IPC President Andrew Parsons issued the following statement:
“I would like to thank Mr Mori for his seven years of service and leadership of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and wish him well for the future.
“Under Mori’s guidance, Tokyo 2020 was the best prepared Organising Committee the IPC has worked with. His team reacted strongly to the pandemic and the historic postponement of the Games last year and are now in a strong position to deliver safe and secure Games this summer. We look forward to working with his successor once appointed to continue the great partnership and co-operation we have enjoyed for many years now.
“In life, I’m a firm believer that out of all bad situations something good must come out of it. I sincerely hope that the domestic and international reaction over the last seven days can be harnessed so that society places greater emphasis on diversity and inclusion, not just in terms of gender representation, but race, sexuality, and persons with disabilities. This world is a wonderful and diverse place and it is important we embrace inclusion to get the best out of each and every one of us to benefit society as a whole.”