Saburo Kawabuchi declines offer to head Tokyo Olympics as Mori resigns
Saburo Kawabuchi, 84, a former Japan Football Association president and soccer player, will decline an offer to become head of the organizing committee for the Tokyo Olympics, Nikkei learned Friday.
Kawabuchi was slated to replace Yoshiro Mori, 83, as president of Tokyo 2020. Mori, who had said he would resign over sexist remarks he made during a board meeting held on Friday of last week, made that official.
"I resign as Tokyo 2020 president today," the former prime minister said. "The most important thing is to hold the Games in July, so I cannot be any hindrance to this aim."
Mori's appointment of Kawabuchi as successor, and the vague selection process had also been criticized. It is now unclear who will be appointed to the position, less than six months before the Olympics are due to start.
Mori had said during a meeting of the Japanese Olympic Committee in Tokyo on Feb. 3 that board meetings with women "take so much time." Because of their "strong sense of competition," he said, if one person raises their hand, others probably think, 'I need to say something, too.'
The remarks came during a discussion over efforts to increase female representation on the committee's board.
Mori withdrew his comments the next day and apologized to "everyone who was offended," saying the remarks "ran counter to the spirit of the Olympics and Paralympics."
Andrew Parsons, president of International Paralympic Committee, said in a Friday statement that he hopes "the domestic and international reaction over the last seven days can be harnessed" and "society places greater emphasis on diversity and inclusion, not just in terms of gender representation, but race, sexuality, and persons with disabilities."
posted Monday February 15th
by Rurika Imahashi