Yoshiro Mori, the president of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Organising Committee, has said he is resigning after he made sexist comments that sparked an outcry.
The 83-year-old Japanese politician, who served as Prime Minister of Japan between April 2000 and April 2001, had said women talk too much during an online meeting of the committee’s board of trustees earlier this month, where he also said women are driven by a “strong sense of rivalry”.
Mori’s comments were criticised by Games sponsor Toyota, among others. On Tuesday, a group of female Japanese politicians wore white as a mark of protest against his remarks.
He has now told a board meeting he will not continue as Olympics chief, saying the most important thing is that the Games are a success.
In a statement, Mr. Yoshiro apologized for his comments, saying he’s been “trying to support women as much as possible”
“My inappropriate statement has caused a lot of chaos,” Mori, whose words were translated into English, said on Friday.
“I will be resigning from the president’s position.”
Mori added: “I would like to express my deepest apologies to the members of the council and executive board, as well as the entire community.
“The important thing is that the Olympic Games is to be held in July. If I am going to be (an obstacle) to the Games’ delivery then that is something I think we should avoid.”
“I didn’t mean for (my remarks) to be neglecting women but I guess it was broadcasted in that way,” Mori said.
“I actually worked a lot to allow women to be able to ‘voice out’, even more than men.
“There were times when the females were not voicing out but I had appointed a couple of women so I can give them an environment and an opportunity to state whatever it is they wanted to say.”
“My inappropriate comments caused big trouble. I am sorry,” he said, explaining he had not meant to cause offence and he believed his remarks were misinterpreted.
“I have been trying to support women as much as possible, and I have been trying to support women more than men so they can speak….
“There were times when people would not put their hands up and not speak up, and I would go out of my way to say … please speak and I feel that women have been able to speak a lot.”
In 2014, Yoshiro Mori was appointed to head the organizing committee for the 2020 Summer Olympics, which was postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19 pandemic.