The president of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics organizing committee reportedly will resign after making sexist remarks about women that were disclosed to media.
Japan’s Kyodo news agency and other news outlets, citing unnamed sources, reported Thursday that Yoshiro Mori would step down on Friday after concluding he could not let the ensuing controversy continue.
A committee spokesman declined to comment on the reports.
The former prime minister reportedly said at an Olympics board of trustees meeting on Feb. 3 that “board meetings with lots of women take longer” because “if one member raises her hand to speak, others might think they need to talk, too.”
Mori retracted his comments and apologized the next day, saying he would not resign.
His remarks, which were leaked to a Japanese newspaper, sparked public debate in the country about gender equality.
The 83-year-old’s reported pending resignation has fueled concerns over the feasibility of holding the games later this year.
More than 80% of the Japanese public believe the games should be canceled or postponed, according to recent polls.
A meeting of the organizing committee executive board is planned for Friday.
In an interview with Nippon TV, Mori did not confirm reports he was stepping down, but said he would “explain his thoughts” at the meeting.
The Japanese news outlet TBS News reported that Saburo Kawabuchi, the former mayor of the Olympic village and president of the Japan Football Association, would replace Mori.