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Tokyo 2020 president faces backlash for sexist remarks

Tokyo, Feb 4 (efe-epa).- The president of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee is facing public backlash in Japan after saying that women make meetings “drag on” because they all want to talk.

Yoshiro Mori made the statements at a meeting on Wednesday, and were reported by Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun. After they came to light, #RetireYoshiroMori and #ContemptForWomen hashtags began trending on Twitter in Japan.

“It was an inappropriate remark. I apologize,” Mori said Thursday, adding that he would not resign from his post, according to Kyodo news.

The organizing committee is yet to comment on the matter.

During a meeting of the Japanese Olympic Committee on Wednesday, 83-year-old Mori spoke about the body’s goal of increasing the number of women members on the board from the current 20 percent to 40 percent in line with the education ministry’s demands.

“The education ministry has been very insistent about choosing female directors. But a board meeting with plenty of women will make it drag on,” Mori said. “Women have a strong sense of rivalry. If one (female) member raises her hand to speak, all the others feel the need to speak too. Everyone ends up saying something.”

“Somebody told me that if we increase the number of women (on the board), we have to also restrict their speaking time to an extent. Otherwise they’ll never stop, which is problematic,” added the official, whose comments were reportedly met with laughter.

The remarks of the Tokyo 2020 president, who was prime minister of Japan between 2000 and 2001 and former president of the Japan Rugby Football Union, has sparked an outpouring of criticism on social media, including by members of the opposition.

Renho, a lawmaker of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party, described his comments as contrary to the Olympic spirit, which she said denounces discrimination and promotes friendship, solidarity and equality. EFE-EPA

tk-asb/pd/tw

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