Tokyo Olympics face another problem because of its president

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Yoshiro Mori, right, the president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee, bows his head after a news conference in Tokyo Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021. (Kim Kyung-hoon/Pool Photo via AP)

TOKYO – The postponed Tokyo Olympics have yet another problem besides the pandemic. This time it’s Yoshiro Mori, the president of the local organizing committee.

Mori made derogatory comments about women almost a week ago in a meeting of the Japanese Olympic Committee. He essentially said they talk too much, driven by a “strong sense of rivalry.”

The 83-year-old former prime minister was forced to apologize, but calls for his resignation persist. They seem to grow daily, cutting into weakening support for the Olympics and raising questions why elderly men dominate politics and boardrooms in Japan.

The local organizing committee issued a vague statement on Sunday saying it supports diversity. The committee is also heavily dominated by men with few women in any leadership roles.

Mori has been the continuing topic of talk and news shows, which point out that the World Economic Forum ranks Japan 121st of 153 countries in gender equality. This contrasts with Japan's image as a sophisticated, developed country and the home of some of the world's most famous and trusted brands.

Mori's future could come to a head in a matter of days with reports that local sponsors are upset. They have contributed a record $3.5 billion to the Tokyo Games.

Widely circulated reports in Japan say the organizing committee's executives will meet this week to discuss his fate.

The fallout is reaching the upper rungs of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's ruling Liberal Democratic Party.