Tokyo Olympics president is expected to resign after saying women 'talk too much' and some fear this will force the games to be canceled

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Tokyo Olympics president is expected to resign after saying women 'talk too much' and some fear this will force the games to be canceled
Yoshiro Mori.REUTERS/Issei Kato/Pool
  • Tokyo Olympics President Yoshiro Mori is expected to resign his post.
  • The 83-year-old previously came under fire for saying women "talk too much" in meetings.
  • The move could put the games at risk, as the dearth of leadership could further derail planning.

The president of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee is expected to resign his post this week - and the move could be the final nail in the coffin for this summer's games.

Yoshiro Mori, the 83-year-old former prime minister of Japan, has been under fire in recent days after he said women "talk too much" and that he finds it "annoying" that "women are competitive" regarding speaking aloud in meetings. Mori made such comments on a Japan Olympic Committee call that included members of the press.

Tokyo Olympics president is expected to resign after saying women 'talk too much' and some fear this will force the games to be canceled
Once Yoshiro Mori steps down, he'll be free to speak without interruption as often as he'd like!Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo/AP Images

The octogenarian subsequently apologized for his sexist comments and suggested that his wife, daughter, and granddaughter all scolded him because he "antagonised women." And though his apology was seemingly sufficient for the International Olympic Committee, which reportedly did not try to oust Mori from his position, it wasn't enough for the Japanese public.

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According to The New York Times, nearly 60% of people in the host country believed Mori was no longer fit to serve in the role. Sponsors also expressed concerns about the impact of Mori's comments on viewership, and some of Japan's politicians spoke out against the statements.

Tokyo Olympics president is expected to resign after saying women 'talk too much' and some fear this will force the games to be canceled
A Japanese protester calls from Yoshiro Mori's removal from Olympics leadership.PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images

Still, many involved in preparation for the games were cautious about calling for Mori's removal. A shortage of leadership, some warned, could further complicate planning efforts and potentially lead to the Olympics getting called off.

"If Mr. Mori steps down, the Tokyo Games will be canceled," Former Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe told daily sports newspaper Sports Hochi. "It shows how big his contribution is."

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"If he steps down now, the situation will get more confused," he added.

Tokyo Olympics president is expected to resign after saying women 'talk too much' and some fear this will force the games to be canceled
Former Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe (right) speaks alongside Yoshiro Mori.AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi

The vast majority of the Japanese public would be just fine with that result. According to ESPN, recent polls suggest that more than 80% of people believe the upcoming Olympics should be postponed again or canceled altogether.

But there's an unfathomable amount of money on the line. As of January, Japan's government and other entities involved in the games' hosting efforts stand to lose more than 4.5 trillion Japanese yen - or roughly US$4 million - if the Olympics are canceled, per Statista.

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Tokyo Olympics president is expected to resign after saying women 'talk too much' and some fear this will force the games to be canceled
A man wearing a protective face mask walks past the Olympic rings.Eugene Hoshiko

Projections suggest that "simplification" of events or holding the games without fans would still result in a 15-digit loss. A postponement would help mitigate Japan's financial hit relative to the other options, but not by very much.

All this to say, the country has plenty of incentive to forge ahead with Olympic planning and attempt to put fans in seats come summer 2021 - with or without Mori. Losing him from the committee undoubtedly complicates said efforts. But with rumors swirling that fellow former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe could serve as Mori's replacement, it appears that - for now, at least - the show will go on.

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