TOKYO (AP) — Yoshiro Mori, the president of the Tokyo Olympic organising committee, said yesterday he would not resign despite pressure on him to do so after making derogatory comments earlier in the week about women.
The controversy over the gaff-prone former Japanese prime minister is one more problem the postponed Tokyo Olympics really didn’t need as organisers and the International Olympic Committee try to pull off the postponed games in the midst of a pandemic. They are scheduled to open on July 23.
“I am not thinking to resign,” Mori said. “I have been working hard and helped devotedly for seven years. I will not be stepping down.”
In an on-line meeting of the Japanese Olympic Committee board of directors earlier in the week, Mori was reported by the daily newspaper Asahi Shimbun saying women talk too much in meetings. His comments have created a storm in Japan where women are grossly under-represented in politics and in board rooms.
“The statement made at the Japan Olympic Committee was an inappropriate expression, contrary to the spirit of the Olympics and Paralympics,” Mori said. “I am deeply remorseful. I would like to withdraw the statement. I would like to apologise for any unpleasant feelings.”
In an on-line meeting, Asahi reported him saying: “Women are very competitive. When one of them raises her hand, they probably think they have to say something, too. And then everyone says something.”
His comment came when he was asked about the presence of few women on the board of the Japanese Olympic Committee.
“If we are going to have more women directors, someone has remarked, then meetings go on for a long time unless we restrict the comments. I’m not saying who that is.”
The Tokyo Olympics he leads are already swamped with problems.
About 80 per cent of Japanese in polls says the games should be postponed or cancelled in the midst of a pandemic. They also have spoken out on rising costs that may total more than USD25 billion to put on these Olympics.