Otago Daily Times

Mori expected to resign today


TOKYO: The president of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics organising committee, Yoshiro Mori, is set to step down over sexist remarks, media reported yesterday, a resignatio­n likely to raise new doubts over the viability of holding the Games later this year.

The former prime minister made the remark — that women talk too much — at a Japanese Olympic Committee board meeting early this month, setting off a storm of criticism at home and abroad.

The Fuji News Network and public broadcaste­r NHK reported that Mori (83) was set to resign. The Mainichi newspaper said he was expected to express his intention to go today, when executive members of the Tokyo Olympics board are due to meet to discuss his sexist remark.

The broadcaste­r TBS reported that former Japan Football Associatio­n president and mayor of the Olympics village, Saburo Kawabuchi, would replace Mori.

Mori retracted his comment about women at a hastily called news conference on February 4, acknowledg­ing it was inappropri­ate and against the Olympic spirit.

But he declined, at that time, to resign.

Pressed on whether he really thought women talked too much, Mori said: ‘‘I don’t listen to women that much lately, so I don’t know’’.

Mori served as prime minister for a gaffeplagu­ed year from April 2000.

His latest comment on women drew sharp criticism in parliament, where opposition lawmakers demanded his resignatio­n, and from the public on social media.

The 2020 Tokyo Games were postponed for a year because of the novel coronaviru­s and the pandemic is still creating huge questions about their viability, even though the government has said it is determined the July 23August 8 Games go ahead.

Even before last year’s postponeme­nt, ballooning costs and a plagiarism scandal involving the official logo bedevilled preparatio­ns.

But the coronaviru­s has proved to be the biggest threat.

Nearly 80% of the public are opposed to holding the Games this year because of concerns about the coronaviru­s, recent polls show.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has said coronaviru­s vaccines are key to a safe Olympics and he said on Wednesday the vaccinatio­n drive would begin in the middle of next week.

Japan’s vaccinatio­n campaign is later than those in most major economies and any delay could sow doubts about a government aim to secure enough doses for everyone before the Olympics. — Reuters

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Yoshiro Mori

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