The creative director of the Tokyo Olympic Games, Hiroshi Sasaki, resigned after making humiliating comments about a famous celebrity woman.
This is another hurdle for postponed games and another one involving comments for women. The Olympics are set to open in just over four months, subject to a pandemic, record spending and numerous scandals.
In February, organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori was forced to resign after making sexist comments, saying women talk too much in meetings.
Two years ago, the head of Japan’s Olympic Committee, Tsunekazu Takeda, was also forced to step down in a vote-buying bribery scandal involving members of the International Olympic Committee.
Sasaki was in charge of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games, which are due to begin on July 23. Last year, he told planning staff that famous artist Naomi Watanabe could attend the ceremony as Olympus.
Watanabe is a cruel woman and very famous in Japan, and “Olympic” was a play on the word “Olympic”.
Sasaki issued a statement early Thursday saying he was retiring. He said he also called Seiko Hashimoto, chairman of the organizing committee, and resigned.
“For Ms. Naomi Watanabe, my idea and comments are a great insult. And that’s unforgivable, “Sasaki said.” I express my deepest regret and apologize from the bottom of my heart to her and to those who may have been offended by this. “
“It’s really unfortunate and I apologize from the bottom of my heart,” he added.
Hashimoto, who replaced Mori, was due to speak later Thursday.
Previously, Sasaki worked for the giant Japanese advertising company Dentsu Inc., which is a key supporter of these Olympic Games. He is the official marketing partner and helped raise a record $ 3.5 billion from local sponsorship, almost three times more than at all previous Olympics.
The torch relay for the Olympics begins next week in northeastern Japan and will be a ordeal with 10,000 runners crossing Japan for four months, heading to the opening ceremony and trying to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
Organizers and the IOC insist the Olympics will continue during the pandemic with 11,000 Olympic and 4,400 Paralympic athletes entering Japan. The official cost to Tokyo is $ 15.4 billion, but several government audits suggest the real cost could be twice as high.
A study from the University of Oxford says that Tokyo is the most expensive recorded Olympics.