Baku, February 12, AZERTAC
Tokyo Olympic chief Yoshiro Mori will resign after making sexist remarks that sparked global outrage, people familiar with the matter said Thursday, resulting in a rare leadership transition with less than six months to go until the opening of the rescheduled games amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to Kyodo News.
Saburo Kawabuchi, an 84-year-old former president of the Japan Football Association, told reporters he is ready to accept a request by the Olympic organizing committee to take over the top job from Mori, a former prime minister.
Mori, 83, is expected to announce his resignation on Friday during a special executive meeting of the organizing committee, arranged to address repercussions from his remarks.
"First of all, I have to apologize for causing trouble and say please take care of the rest of the task. What's important is the success of the Olympics," a person close to Mori quoted him as saying.
But the expected leadership change in the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee -- a handover from an 83-year-old man to an 84-year-old man -- suggests that Japan remains a male-dominated country with elder leaders gripping power in many areas.
Mori said at a Japanese Olympic Committee gathering Feb. 3 that having women participate in meetings meant they tended to "drag on." He apologized and retracted the comments the following day, but said he would not resign.
Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike told reporters she received an explanation from Mori by phone and added that the metropolitan government will "continue to work toward the success" of the Olympics and Paralympics.
Kawabuchi, one of the councillors of the organizing committee, who held a meeting with Mori on Thursday, said he was asked by the former prime minister to take over the role as president. The 84-year-old is known for leading the professionalization of Japanese soccer and was the inaugural chairman of the J-League.
"It is my biggest mission to make it possible to stage (the Summer Games) by any means," said Kawabuchi, who currently serves as mayor of the Tokyo Olympic athletes village.
"It is an honor. I'd like to accept and offer my assistance so that Mr. Mori's efforts will not come to waste," he said in the city of Chiba, near Tokyo.
© Content from this site must be hyperlinked when used.