Tokyo Olympics chief forced to resign over sexist comments

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It seems that a new discipline has been added to this year’s Games, in which the head of the Tokyo Olympics, firstly makes sexists remarks about women and then stubbornly dodges any consequences for over a week. And the gold medal goes to… 

It’s been over a week since Yoshiro Mori (83), the President of the Tokyo Olympics organising committee, has been called out for making “inappropriate” remarks about women. 

During an online meeting of the committee’s board of trustees earlier this month, the former prime minister of Japan, has reportedly said that women “talk too much”. 

According to Asahi Shimbun newspaper, he said: “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.”

At a news conference held afterwards, he had retracted his words, apologizing but refusing to resign.

He said: “My comments yesterday were inappropriate and against the Olympic spirit. I’ve dedicated myself to this for seven years. I have no doubts about what I should do.” 

However, when pressured during the news conference to answer, if he really thought women talked too much, he replied: “I don’t listen to women that much lately, so I don’t know.”

Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori apologizing for making “inappropriate” comments. Credit: The Japan Times

Reportedly, he later suggested during a TV interview that he felt obliged to say sorry because of all the foreign media attention his comments have provoked. 

This sexism scandal became a symbolic moment for a gender equality in Japan. 

Despite belonging to a highly develop and modern society, Japan has been making miserably small progress in gender quality. The Japanese Olympic Committee only holds five women among its 24 members. 

Financial Times reports that Mori, who didn’t last more than a year as the prime minister of Japan, has a long history of similar scandals, including attacks on women who did not have children and athletes who failed to sign the national anthem loudly enough. 

While the older politicians have dismissed his remark as yet another one of his ‘slip‑ups’, the younger generation has been pushing for his resignation, with the Twitter hashtag “Mori, please resign” trending in Japan ever since. 

The world‑wide uproar caused by Mori’s comments, ended his week‑long refusal of resignation. 

This sexism row has stirred a new wave of debate around the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, which have already been delayed by a year due to the Covid pandemic and which 80% of the Japanese believe should be postponed again. 

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Film, Media and Journalism student at the University of Stirling. Sports editor @ Brig Newspaper. Bylines in Edinburgh Evening Times and the SPA National Magazine.

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