Over 500 volunteers have quit following Yoshiro Mori’s controversial remarks about how much women talk.

Very little has gone smoothly in the preparations for the Tokyo Olympics. Some of the problems, like a global pandemic delaying the games from their original summer 2020 opening, were beyond the control of the Organizing Committee. Others, though, like a plagiarized logo and stadium design so flawed it needed a complete redesign, seem like the sort of things the committee should have been much more on top of.

And then there’s the most easily avoidable gaffe: not insinuating that women aren’t fit for leadership roles because they talk too much. That’s what Organizing Committee president Yoshiro Mori did earlier this month, though, blaming women’s “very competitive nature” for adding unnecessary length to meetings.

The 83-year—old Mori’s comments have drawn widespread criticism both in Japan and abroad, from both ordinary citizens and official corporate sponsors of the Games. In addition, more than 500 volunteers have withdrawn their offers to help during the Olympics following Mori’s disparaging remarks.

Despite Mori’s long-standing ties with the sports community, there’s a growing sentiment that his involvement might now be doing more harm than good for the Tokyo Olympics. Some are going as far as to call for his resignation, and Mori himself has now said:

“I have reached a decision and am resolved to it. On the 12th [this Friday] I would like to speak thoroughly to everyone.”

There’s less than half a year until the Tokyo Games’ currently scheduled start on July 23, so it could be that Mori’s resolution is that there’s simply not enough time for a top-leadership transition. However, public broadcaster NHK reports that an informed party says Mori has decided to step down, though we won’t know for sure until after his press conference.

Source: Hokuriku Shimbun via Yahoo! Japan News via Hachima Kiko, NHK (1, 2)
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