FILE PHOTO: The Olympic rings are lit up outside the National Stadium in Tokyo, Japan, January 22, 2021. REUTERS / Kim Kyung-Hoon / File Photo

TOKYO – About 1,000 Olympic Games volunteers have resigned in the past month, organizers said, in which organizing committee chairman Yoshiro Mori resigned over sexist remarks and a new chairman was chosen to replace it.

Volunteers are the backbone of all Games, doing everything from guiding people to venues, translating and leading visitors.

A significant drop in their numbers could be another hurdle for Tokyo 2020, already hit by an unprecedented one-year postponement and lack of public support fueled by concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

Tokyo 2020 organizers said not all volunteers who resigned recently are resigning due to Mori’s comments. Investigations have shown that volunteers repeatedly expressed concerns about the coronavirus.

The total number of volunteers recruited by Tokyo 2020 is 80,000 and organizers have said they do not expect the management of the Games to be affected as the number of departures is only around 1% of the total.

Another 30,000 volunteers were recruited separately by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, which was unable to immediately comment on the number of people who resigned.

In addition, the postponement of the Games affected some volunteers, who were able to help last year but are not this year, due to job changes or other lifestyle changes, such as the having to look after young children.

The Olympics will take place from July 23 to August 8.

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