Olympic torch relay runners, volunteers and games sponsors saw the resignation of Yoshiro Mori as president of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics Organising Committee as inevitable.
Mori offered to step down on Friday to take responsibility for his sexist comments directed at women. The committee will set up a panel to select his successor.
“A successor should be an open-minded person with leadership qualities,” said Shinji Tsubokura, a 57-year-old man from Fukushima Prefecture who quit as a torchbearer in protest against Mori’s sexist remarks.
Mayumi Takahashi, a 58-year-old volunteer from Shiki, Saitama Prefecture, said, “It was clear that Mori thought he should just apologize and resign.”
Takahashi said that the fate of the Tokyo Games has grown more uncertain but that she has no plans to quit.
Mori’s resignation was “not surprising,” said Kazuko Fukuda, a 25-year-old graduate student who led an online petition calling for action to be taken against Mori.
The petition has drawn over 147,000 signatures. Fukuda said that she felt the strong feelings of those who have dealt with sexism.
She added she hopes that the change of leadership at the organizing committee “will serve as an opportunity for Japan to turn into a society that” prioritizes gender equality.
Mori’s resignation was inevitable but very disappointing, said Canon Inc., an Olympic sponsor whose Chairman and CEO Fujio Mitarai will lead a panel to select a successor.
Lixil Group Corp., also a sponsor, said that it hopes the committee will recognize the importance of gender equality and the Tokyo Games’ vision of unity in diversity.
Another games sponsor said a successor to Mori needs to be an internationally minded person with political clout.
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