Criticism continues of Japan Olympics chief over sexist comments

Tokyo, Feb 5 (efe-epa).- Controversial sexist comments from Japan Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori continued to generate criticism Friday among public officials, who expressed their concern at a delicate moment for the Games that have lost public support.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, responding to a question on the issue at a press conference, called the comments “impermissible” and said she was speechless it when she learnt about it.

“The IOC (International Olympic Committee) has said the matter is closed, but I have heard that games volunteers have resigned and people have made phone calls in protest, so we need to look into that,” Koike said, according to Kyodo news agency.

The governor underlined it was the mission of the metropolitan government and the organizing committee to host a safe and secure games, but now they were facing a “serious situation” due to the Covid-19 pandemic and wanted to focus on it.

Mori, the head of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee, made comments about wishing to limit women’s speaking time during board meetings because of their tendency to talk too much, sparking criticism within Japan as well as abroad.

“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,” said Mori, 83, during an extraordinary meeting of the Olympic committee in which they discussed increasing the number of women members from 20 percent to 40 percent.

Mori on Thursday apologized for his remarks but refused to given in to demands from several quarters to step down, as he expressed his desire to finish the work he started more than seven years ago to organize the Games.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato on Friday acknowledged criticism of Mori’s remarks, but urged the parties involved in the organization of the Tokyo Olympics to cooperate for the successful organization of the event.

The nonprofit Human Rights Watch (HRW) also joined in the criticism of Mori as it released a statement calling for a “gold medal” to be awarded to the country’s Olympic chief for sexism.

“Women in Japan are grossly underrepresented in sports federation leadership” and the Japan Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, which Mori chairs, “have an important role to play when it comes to gender equality,” said HRW. EFE-EPA


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