Tokyo, Feb. 9 (Jiji Press)–Companies sponsoring the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics this summer are raising voices against a recent controversial remark about women by Yoshiro Mori, president of the Tokyo Games organizing committee.
Mori came under criticism from around the world after saying earlier this month that meetings of executive boards tend to be prolonged if the boards have many female members.
“The remark was very inappropriate in light of the Olympic and Paralympic spirits,” Yuji Fukasawa, president of East Japan Railway Co. <9020>, or JR East, told a regular press conference on Tuesday.
Nippon Life Insurance Co., 90 pct of whose employees are women, said the remark was “very regrettable as it can be taken as contempt for women and violates the principle of gender equality.” Major electronics maker NEC Corp. <6701> said the remark “contradicts the Tokyo Games vision emphasizing diversity and harmony.”
Sponsor companies are facing consumer complaints about the remark by Mori, former Japanese prime minister. A manufacturer has received through its website comments demanding Mori’s resignation and urging the company to add pressure as a sponsor.
A day after making the remark in question, Mori retracted it and apologized. On Sunday, the organizing committee issued an official statement vowing to manage the event in a way that respects and accepts diversity in all areas. Furthermore, it held a briefing session for sponsors on Monday night to explain its position and hear their opinions.
Nonetheless, few companies appear to be convinced by these moves by the organizing committee.
With the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics postponed from summer 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic, sponsor companies have agreed to additionally provide a total of 22 billion yen.
“We’re not sponsoring Mori but supporting the Tokyo Games,” an official of a sponsor firm said.
No sponsor company has suggested an intention to withdraw its support. However, many are strongly concerned about the remark’s negative implications.
Sponsor companies are closely watching the organizing committee’s response to the scandal while refraining from directly mentioning whether Mori should step down.