• Sun. Oct 23rd, 2022

Yoshiro Mori’s remarks have created a storm in Japan where women are grossly under-represented in politics and in boardrooms.

Feb 4, 2021

The chief of the Tokyo Olympics who said women talk too much in meetings has refused to resign despite pressure on him to do so.
Yoshiro Mori, president of the organising committee of the Tokyo Olympics and former prime minister of Japan, was reported to have said it is “annoying” that women talk too much during an online meeting of the Japanese Olympic Committee board of directors.
Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported him as saying during Tuesdays meeting: Women are very competitive. When one of them raises her hand, they probably think they have to say something, too. And then everyone says something.
His comment came when he was asked about the presence of few women on the board of the Japanese Olympic Committee.
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
Yoshiro Mori
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.
We have about seven women at the organising committee but everyone understands their place.
The remarks led to an uproar in Japan where women are grossly under-represented in politics and boardrooms.
Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee President Yoshiro Mori. Credit: AP
He apologised for his comments on Thursday but said he is not considering stepping down.
He said: “I am not thinking to resign. I have been working hard and helped devotedly for seven years. I will not be stepping down.
He added: The statement made at the Japan Olympic Committee was an inappropriate expression, contrary to the spirit of the Olympics and Paralympics. I am deeply remorseful. I would like to withdraw the statement. I would like to apologise for any unpleasant feelings.
Tokyo was set to host the 2020 Olympics Credit: PA
However, in an interview with another Japanese newspaper Mainichi, which was published on Thursday, he suggested he may have to resign if pressure grows.
He told the newspaper: I had no intention to disrespect women.
I believe I must carry out my responsibility, but if calls for my resignation grow, I may have to resign.
He added: It was careless of me, and I would like to apologise.
The Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to start on July 23, although there have been concerns and speculation that the games could be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
About 80% of Japanese in polls think the games should be postponed or cancelled.
The International Olympic Committee last month denied media reports that the Tokyo 2020 Games would be cancelled.
The president of the International Olympic Committee also ruled out pushing back Tokyo 2020 or moving it to another city.
The Tokyo Olympics was originally scheduled for 2020 and has already been delayed once.