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Tokyo Olympics is once again in a fog

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By Ji-yeon Kim
기사입력 2021-03-15

  © weeklymonday

As Yoshiro Mori, President of the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (TOCOG), has resigned from his post to take responsibility for his contemptuous remarks about women, there are concerns about preparations for the Tokyo Olympics.


President Mori mentioned the issue of increasing female directors at the JOC extraordinary council meeting on February 3rd, saying, “The board of directors with many women takes time to proceed with the meeting.” His remarks sparked immediate controversy. He apologized for his remarks but said he would maintain his position in TOCOG. However, he eventually decided to resign on February 12th as criticism rose in Japan and abroad.


The International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said that he “fully respects” the decision made by President Mori. “The IOC fully respects Mori’s decision to resign and understands why,” Thomas Bach said in a statement and added, “At the same time, we would like to thank him for his contribution over the years to the Olympics and Paralympics.”


Mori, who took office as president of the organizing committee in January 2014, is known to have a strong influence in the sports sector as a major figure who served as Prime Minister of the Japanese government. He is said to have been leading all the preparations for the Olympics based on his strong connections between political and business circles. With such a figure stepping down, the organizing committee preparing to host the Tokyo Olympics is likely to be in confusion.  


In addition, emergency precautions have been issued due to the spread of COVID-19 in Japan, and skepticism about whether the Tokyo Olympics will proceed has not weakened as the pandemic is still raging abroad, including in the U.S. and Europe. News about the appearance of variant viruses  is raising doubt about the hosting of the Tokyo Olympics, already postponed for one year. In fact, in opinion polls conducted recently, more than 80 percent of the Japanese public believe the Tokyo Olympics should be postponed again or canceled and only 15 percent think that they should push ahead with the event.


With the organizing committee set to form a successor selection committee, attention is also being paid to who will succeed Mori. As the organizing committee’s leadership has been shaken because of the direct attack by coronavirus, the Tokyo Olympics is once again in a fog.

 

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