The decision comes after the sexist remarks were leaked to the media recently.

The Tokyo Olympics are increasingly getting muddled in controversy. The competition is already under the threat of being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the recent revelation of Tokyo Olympics President Yoshiro Mori’s comments regarding women have brought a lot of flak. As reported by NHK, Japan’s national public broadcaster, Mori has stepped down from his position. It is a huge blow for the Tokyo Olympics.

His comments in a board meeting that allegedly conveyed “board meetings with lots of women take longer” because “women are competitive — if one member raises their hand to speak, others might think they need to talk too.” The same was reported by several media outlets in Japan.

“If you want to increase female membership, you would be in trouble unless you put time limits in place,” the media reported Mori as saying in reference to female board members. 

The former Prime Minister of Japan made these comments behind closed doors and later apologized for them in a news conference.  The Organizing Committee for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics has refrained from making a comment on the incident yet, but will be pursued by the media to react sooner rather than later.

In a country which is already marked poorly in terms of providing an equal representation to women at board level, the comments only exhibit the prevalent gender discrimination deeply rooted in Japanese society. The World Economic Forum 2020 Global Gender Gap Report ranked Japan 121 from 153 assessed nations, in terms of gender gap in the political or corporate sphere.

The games are facing huge opposition from the general public, who have deemed the organization of a large scale event like this as impractical during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Organizing Committee must elect a new leader, who will replace Yoshiro Mori. However, the organizers are confident of successfully overcoming the hurdles and meeting the opening date of 23 July.

This incident regardless has brought global attention to Japan’s ever-increasing gender gap, which is one of the most in advanced countries. Systemic changes will need to be made by the authorities to redeem their image, while they run against time to finalize the logistical and organizational demands of hosting the Olympics.

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