TOKYO — The long saga of Yoshiro Mori appears to be near the end.
Japan’s Kyodo news agency and others reported on Thursday — citing unnamed sources — that Mori will step down Friday as the president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee.
The move follows his sexist comments about women more than a week ago, and an ensuing and rare public debate in Japan about gender equality,
A decision is expected to be announced on Friday when the organizing committee’s executive board meets. The executive board of Tokyo 2020 is overwhelmingly male, as is the day-to-day leadership.
In a meeting of the Japanese Olympic Committee more than a week ago, Mori, 83, essentially said that women “talk too much” and are driven by a “strong sense of rivalry.” Mori, a former prime minister, gave a grudging apology a few days later after his opinions were reported, but declined to resign.
This is more than just another problem for the postponed Olympics, which have made the risky choice of trying to open on July 23 in the middle of a pandemic with 11,000 athletes — and later, 4,400 Paralympic athletes.
More than 80% of the Japanese public in recent polls said the Olympics should be postponed or canceled.
Mori’s remarks have drawn outrage from many and have put the spotlight on how far Japan lags behind other countries in advancing women in politics or boardrooms. Japan stands 121st out of 153 in the World Economic Forum’s gender equality rankings.
Though some among the public called for him to resign — several hundred Olympic volunteers said they are withdrawing — most decision-makers stopped short of this and simply condemned his remarks.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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