Tokyo Olympics 2020 is due to meet this week to have a discussion on the ongoing controversy sparked by the Tokyo Games chief Yoshiro Mori, who is also former Prime Minister of Japan. Last week, Mori caused an uproar after he said women speak too much in meetings. According to the reports, since then, hundreds of volunteers have made an exit from the summer event.
After that, Mori apologised in a press meet called by the organisers but the chief did not step down from his job and International Olympic Committee considers the matter closed.
The Olympics 2020 organisers are calling for a special meet on Friday, to discuss responses by people as they want Mori to resign, reports said.
Following Mori's remarks, almost 400 Olympic and Paralympic volunteers have quit, the committee added, saying that this number includes withdrawals for all reasons.
A total of 80,000 volunteers from Japan and abroad have been recruited for the Games this summer.
Two people pulled out of the torch relay and about 4,000 people made a complaint to organisers, said NHK, a public broadcaster.
The row is the latest headache for organisers, who are still dealing with public concern about the postponed Olympics due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with more than 80% of Japanese voters turning out to oppose it this summer.
Mori apologised on Thursday and said that he wished to withdraw his remarks but then became defensive when challenged, maintaining that he had heard complaints that women talked at length.
An online petition calling for action against Mori gathered more than 140,000 signatures, while tennis superstar Naomi Osaka called his statements "ignorant."
Top government spokesperson Katsunobu Kato said on Tuesday that organisers should try to persuade volunteers to return.
Kato also said that 'it is important that the organising committee gives a careful explanation to volunteers,' days after a Tokyo 2020 statement reaffirmed a commitment to gender equality and diversity.
But ruling-party heavyweight Toshihiro Nikai reportedly said Monday that volunteers "would change their mind when things calm down" -- sparking further ire online and from other politicians.
"If they really want to quit, we'll need to recruit new ones," he said, according to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper.
Olympic sponsors have told organisers they received complaints and boycott threats over Mori's comments, the Mainichi Shimbun daily reported.
"We would like to refrain from 'performing' with president Mori" to promote products, the newspaper quoted one anonymous company official as saying.
Natsuo Yamaguchi called Mori's comments "extremely inappropriate and regrettable, head of the ruling party's coalition partner Komeito.
"It's true many volunteers are quitting and president Mori needs to seriously reflect (on his remarks) that caused such ripples," he said.