Tokyo 2020 head apologizes for comments on women

NHK -- Feb 04
After igniting a social media backlash and catching international media attention, the head of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics organizing committee is apologizing for controversial comments.

But he said he has no intention of resigning. Mori Yoshiro said earlier this week that board meetings with women take too long because they talk too much.

Mori said, "What I have said was inappropriate and goes against the spirit of the Olympics and Paralympics. To that end, I deeply regret what I have done. And I want to retract my remark and I'll apologize to the people who were annoyed by what I said."

That remark came during an extraordinary meeting of councilors of the Japanese Olympic Committee on Wednesday.

Over 50 participants, some taking part online, were briefed on the goal of having women make up at least 40 percent of board members.

Mori spoke as the meeting drew to a close, mentioning his experience as head of the Japan Rugby Football Union. He said the increasing number of female board members there led to meetings twice as long as normal.

He attributed this to women's "strong sense of rivalry", saying that if one member raises her hand to speak, others think they need to talk as well, and so everyone says something.

None of the participants responded to Mori's comments.

Social media users took notice, with calls for Mori's resignation trending on Twitter in Japan.

Mizoguchi Noriko, a silver medalist at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, wrote online that she believes it's the chairperson who's responsible for prolonged meetings.

Mizoguchi, who now serves as councilor of the All Japan Judo Federation, called on Mori to work to eradicate gender bias and set an example for sport governance.

Several foreign media outlets have also responded.

The New York Times reported the controversy adds a burden to organizers, who are already facing rising costs and significant public opposition to this summer's Games.

And France's AFP news agency wrote that Mori "risked sparking a sexism row" over his words.


東京オリンピック・パラリンピック組織委員会の森喜朗会長が「女性が多い会議は時間がかかる」などという自身の発言について「深く反省し、撤回したい」とおわびしました。  大会組織委員会・森喜朗会長:「オリンピック、パラリンピックの精神に反する不適切な表現であったと認識しております。発言致しました件につきましては撤回をしたい」「(Q.会長は辞任をするという考えは浮かんだんでしょうか?)辞任するという考えはありません。自分からどうしようという気持ちはありません」  森会長の女性を巡る発言は国会でも取り上げられました。  立憲民主党・菊田衆院議員:「撤回、謝罪で許される話でしょうか。 - ANNnewsCH