Sports World Braces Amid Reports of Mori’s Resignation

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A countdown board showing the number of days until the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics is seen in Minato Ward, Tokyo, on Friday.

Sports officials preparing for the Tokyo Games were rattled as reports circulated of Yoshiro Mori’s intention to resign as president of the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

While many said a change in leadership was unavoidable, some expressed concern about Games’ preparations.

“After the International Olympic Committee issued a statement and some volunteers withdrew, [Mori] probably decided to try to settle the matter himself,” said Koji Kimura, an organizing committee councilor and an honorary member of the Japanese Olympic Committee. “I think resignation is inevitable. The outcome can’t be avoided,” Kimura said.

An official of the Japan Para Athletics said, “We hope that a change in leadership will lead to a positive mood regarding the Games.”

An executive of the Japan Golf Association, Hiroshi Yamanaka, said, “It is worrisome that the disruption has occurred with less than six months to go before the Olympics. But even if the president is replaced, there is no choice but to do what needs to be done to train the athletes and make the Games a success.”

In an interview after an event in Tokyo to support medical workers, Yuito Moriwaki, a member of the Olympic boxing team and a member of the Self-Defense Forces, said: “Whether the Games are held or not is uncertain, according to some people. Even if they don’t go ahead, I’ll still be training for the next [Olympics] in Paris.”

Meanwhile, Shoken Narita, president of the Japan Canoe Federation, expressed regret, saying, “Thanks to Mori’s efforts, for the first time [in the history of Olympic canoeing] men and women will compete in the same number of events at the Tokyo Games.”

An executive board member of the organizing committee said: “Mori’s greatest strength is his capability to coordinate the overly compartmentalized bureaucracy. His successor will have to deal with the challenge of gaining the government’s full support.”