Tokyo Olympics 2021 - Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori retracts sexist comments, refuses to resign
The hashtag "Mori, please resign" was trending on Twitter in Japan on Thursday morning and some users on the platform were calling on sponsors to pressure the Tokyo organising committee into dropping Yoshiro Mori from the top post. Mori, whose term as prime minister was marked by a string of blunders, made the sexist comments at a Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) board of trustees meeting.
Yoshiro Mori, president of the Tokyo Olympic Organising Committee, speaking at a news conference in Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori on Thursday apologised for sexist comments about women talking too much, but said he would not resign, even as his remarks sparked a firestorm of criticism on social media and risked tainting public opinion of the Games.
Mori, 83, apologised at a hastily called news conference, but when pressed on whether he really thought women talked too much, he said: "I don't listen to women that much lately so I don't know".
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics board would have to decide on any resignation by Mori, Olympics minister Seiko Hashimoto said later on Thursday.
"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," said Mori, according to local media.
"We have about seven women at the organising committee but everyone understands their place."
The JOC decided in 2019 to aim for more than 40 percent female members on the board, but there are just five women among the board's 24 members.
Mori acknowledged that his comments were "inappropriate" and against the Olympic spirit.
"I feel deep remorse and I would like to retract my remarks," he told reporters.
Asked about Mori's remarks in parliament, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said his comments should not have been made.
The International Olympic Committee considers the "issue closed" following Mori's apology.
‘My concern isn't the athletes’ - Naomi Osaka weighs in on Olympic debate