The Tokyo 2020 Olympics organising committee chief and former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, has issued an apology for his sexist remarks about “talkative” women in sports organisations, but said he would not resign.
83-year-old Mori, told the Japanese Olympic Committee that meetings attended by too many women tended to “drag on” because they talked too much.
Mori said: “Women have a strong sense of rivalry. If one raises her hand to speak, all the others feel the need to speak, too. Everyone ends up saying something.” He added: “If I say too much, the newspapers are going to write that I said bad things, but I heard somebody say that if we are to increase the number of female board members, we have to regulate speaking time to some extent, or else we’ll never be able to finish. I am not going to say who said that.” He doubled down on his nonsense by saying “We have about seven women at the organising committee but everyone understands their place.”
At a press conference today, a humiliated Mori acknowledged that his comments ran counter to the Olympic spirit.
But he added: “I am not thinking of resigning. I have been working hard and devoted myself to helping [the Tokyo Olympics] for seven years. I will not be stepping down.”
Mori had already drawn criticism by insisting the Tokyo Olympics, whose future is again in doubt due to the coronavirus, would go ahead “regardless” of how the pandemic looks by the time they are due to open on 23 July.
Mori, a conservative politician has often alienated himself with very careless, ill-considered remarks.
In 2016, he told Japanese athletes about to compete in the Rio Olympics that unless they sang Kimigayo, Japan’s national anthem, in a loud voice they should consider themselves unfit to represent their country, after they had delivered a lacklustre rendition of the song.
During the 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi, Mori singled out the popular figure skater Mao Asada for criticism after she failed to execute a triple axel during her short programme. “That girl, she’s always falling at a critical moments,” he said.