Seiko Hashimoto, who replaced Mr. Mori as president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee, said on Thursday that she was shocked by Mr. Sasaki’s remark about Ms. Watanabe, calling it “inappropriate and very regrettable.”

She first learned about Mr. Sasaki’s comment from the Shukan Bunshun article, she said in a news briefing. The committee was in the process of verifying the report, she said, when Mr. Sasaki called her late Wednesday to explain what had happened and offer his resignation.

“In light of his firm decision to resign, and in light of the fact that we have made gender equality a focus,” Ms Hashimoto said, “I have accepted and thanked him for his many contributions.”

When asked if she would have preferred that he stay, given that the opening ceremony is just four months away, Ms. Hashimoto said, “Yes, I had that feeling.” But after hearing his determination to resign, she added, she accepted.

Mr. Sasaki, who was already in charge of the opening and closing ceremonies for the Paralympic Games, had the ceremonies for the Olympic Games added to his portfolio after the event was postponed last year because of the pandemic. He had said the Olympic ceremonies would be scaled down, to reflect the sacrifices of the past year.

He also directed the flag handover ceremony at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where the Japanese prime minister at the time, Shinzo Abe, appeared dressed as Mario, the Nintendo video game character.

Makiko Inoue and Motoko Rich reported from Tokyo, and Tiffany May from Hong Kong.

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