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Criticism keeps swirling over Tokyo Olympic chief’s sexist comments

  • February 5, 2021
  • , Kyodo News , 1:55 p.m.
  • English Press

TOKYO — Controversial remarks about women by the head of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee continued to draw criticism on Friday with Japanese ministers voicing concerns over the comments globally seen as sexist.

 

“I would like him to respond adequately so he does not repeat what he did,” Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto told a press conference, referring to Yoshiro Mori, who this week said women talk too much during meetings and later apologized for the comments.

 

Hashimoto said she spoke with International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach over the phone last night. Bach asked the Japanese government to continue working toward the success of the Tokyo Olympics, which were postponed for one year due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Hashimoto.

 

Both the IOC and International Paralympic Committee released comments Thursday stating that Mori’s apology closed the matter.

The remarks by Mori, an 83-year-old former prime minister, have triggered backlash both at home and abroad, complicating the efforts by the Tokyo Olympic organizers to deal with low public support to hold the games this summer despite a global resurgence of the virus.

 

Japanese Olympic Committee chief Yasuhiro Yamashita told reporters that Mori’s comments, which were made during an online JOC meeting on Wednesday, “violate the Olympic spirit.”

 

Mori had complained about the JOC’s push for gender diversity on its board, saying women have “a strong sense of rivalry” and that when one female member raises her hand to speak, “everyone ends up saying something.”

 

Mori apologized on Thursday for his “inappropriate” comments but insisted he will not resign despite mounting calls for his removal.

Takuya Hirai, minister in charge of digital reform, told a press conference, “I can’t imagine how he came up with the remarks. It is unacceptable.”

 

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato, the top government spokesman, admitted that Mori’s remarks have triggered “various criticism.”

 

“Given the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games should be held through the cooperation and understanding of not just Japanese people but the world, we hope each would respond by taking that into account and that the government will also make preparations from that standpoint,” Kato said at a press conference.

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