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At least 390 volunteers quit Tokyo Olympics

Tokyo Olympic Games President Yoshiro Mori (AP-Yonhap)
Tokyo Olympic Games President Yoshiro Mori (AP-Yonhap)
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics has been facing various hurdles so far, the biggest one being the COVID-19 pandemic, but now internal problems have surfaced, threatening to further hamper the event’s progress.

The Tokyo Olympics’ organizing committee chief Yoshiro Mori caused public outrage when he made derogatory remarks against women in a board meeting speech last week. He was quoted as saying that “a board meeting with many women will make it drag on,” while adding that women’s speech time should be restricted during meetings.

The remarks led some 390 volunteers to hand in their resignation Thursday, according to multiple Japanese media outlets.

Most of the volunteers’ stated Mori’s remarks as the reason for calling it quits.

Critics pointed to the irony and inappropriateness of Mori’s remarks disparaging women as it came while discussing ways to increase the number of female directors in the committee.

According to Kyodo News, two of the nominated Tokyo Olympics torchbearers had also resigned after hearing Mori’s remarks.

The organizing committee reportedly received some 350 phone calls and 4,200 email inquiries over the last five days, 90 percent of which were complaints and opinions about the remarks.

One of the Olympics’ sponsors also filed a complaint, the organizing committee revealed during an online meeting on Monday. The Mainichi Shimbun reported that the company had expressed regret over the remark, saying that “it went out of bounds, ignoring the Olympic spirit.”

Mori apologized the following day, but decided not to step down from the post.

As the controversy continued to spread, the organizing committee has decided to hold a joint meeting on Friday with directors and council members to discuss ways to respond to the chief’s remarks.

Reports said Mori’s fellow officials on the committee had urged him to stay.

By Kim Hae-yeon (hykim@heraldcorp.com)
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