Backlash over Tokyo Olympic head's remarks on women goes viral: paper

Cheryl Sanders
February 4, 2021

If one [female] member raises her hand to speak, all the others feel the need to speak, too.

He told the Japanese newspaper: "If we increase the number of female board members, we have to make sure their speaking time is restricted somewhat, they have difficulty finishing, which is annoying".

"I don't know if his remarks are simply jokes or slips, but he really hasn't changed and his remarks really discourage people's motivation", he said on YouTube.

"I deeply regret my comments and would like to sincerely apologise to anyone whom I have offended".

"If we are going to have more women directors, someone has remarked, then meetings go on for a long time unless we restrict the comments", he said, according to media reports.

Anger over Mori's comments is likely to further alienate a Japanese public that has grown increasingly wary of Tokyo's attempts to hold the Games during a pandemic.

Mori, who did not dispute the report in one of Japan's biggest newspapers, said he "was not thinking about resigning".

Yoshiro Mori sparked a backlash with comments that women board members talked too much.

Mori's remarks provoked laughter from some JOC Council members. By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.

A government spokesman declined to be drawn on calls for his resignation, but JOC member and former judo competitor Kaori Yamaguchi called Mori's comments "unfortunate".

Renho, a prominent opposition politician, called Mr Mori's remarks "shameful".

As worldwide competitions in sports other than figure skating have also been canceled or postponed, athletes and officials are finding it hard to make training plans for the Beijing Games.

While ranking highly on a range of worldwide indicators, Japan persistently trails on promoting gender equality, ranking 121 out of 153 nations surveyed in the 2020 global gender gap report of the World Economic Forum. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga yesterday extended Japan's state of emergency until early March, although the country has seen relatively few coronavirus cases compared to many countries, with 400,000 total cases and 6,000 deaths.

The nationwide Olympic torch relay is still due to begin on March 25, with the opening ceremony on July 23.

Sports officials will be allowed to skip quarantine as long as they monitor their health for 14 days after arriving in Japan, according to the 32-page document.

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