Tokyo Olympics 2020 chief sparks controversy with sexist remarks

Tokyo 2020 President Yoshirō Mori has apologised but said he will not resign

In 2019, the committee - which is responsible for selecting Japanese Olympians - set itself a goal of increasing the number of female board directors to 40%.

"It was an inappropriate remark".

"I am not thinking to resign", Mori said. "I'm not saying who that is", he said.

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

"The education ministry has been very insistent about choosing female directors".

Criticism of Mori's comments flooded the internet.

The 83-year-old cited his experience as a former president of the Japan Rugby Football Union, saying, "Women have a strong sense of rivalry".

"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", Mori said, according to a report in Asahi Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper. "Everyone ends up saying something".

The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee President said he was deeply sorry for the offence he had caused
The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee President said he was deeply sorry for the offence he had caused

Mori made the comments, some of which were greeted with laughter, at a meeting with members of the Japanese Olympic Committee, the Asahi reported.

"Gender equality and consideration for people with disabilities were supposed to be a given for the Tokyo Games".

"We have about seven women at the organising committee but everyone understands their place", he said.

However, Kyodo News reported that Mori also praised the caliber of the seven women now sitting on the 35-member board, saying many had previously served in sporting leagues and had valuable global experience. Women now comprise only 20 percent of the board.

"I was told that if the JOC plans to increase female members of the executive boards, meetings will be drawn out unless the time allotted for each speaker is limited to some extent", he said. "Otherwise they'll never stop, which is problematic", Mori said.

Mori's comments caused immediate furore on social media, where the hashtag "Mori, please resign" was trending on Twitter in Japan on Thursday morning.

He was speaking at Wednesday's meeting of the Japanese Olympic Committee. "The Olympics and Paralympics represent the equality of both men and women and I am thankful for the women athletes and staff".

Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics said on Wednesday athletes and officials should not use public transport without permission, and asked them to wear face masks at "all times" during the event, except when eating or sleeping.



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