Lhe president of the organizing committee for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Yoshiro Mori, apologized to Japanese media on Thursday for sexist remarks he made the day before and raised the possibility of resigning, if there is was forced. “If the calls for my resignation get louder, I may be forced to leave my post,” Yoshiro Mori told the daily Mainichi. “I would like to apologize,” he added, assuring that he spoke “without thinking”.
At a press conference on Thursday, however, he assured that he did not intend to resign. These statements “went against the spirit of the Olympic and Paralympic Games” and were therefore “inappropriate”, admitted Yoshiro Mori at a press conference in Tokyo. “I would like to withdraw what I said,” he added, saying he wanted to apologize “to all those who felt offended”. “I have no intention of resigning,” he said however, recalling his “personal sacrifice for seven years” in the service of the organization of the Olympics, postponed for a year until this summer (23 July -8 August) because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Boards of directors with a lot of women take a lot of time”
On Wednesday, the 83-year-old former Prime Minister of Japan (2000-2001) complained that “boards of directors with a lot of women take a long time”, because they have, according to him, difficult to finish their interventions, according to comments reported by the Japanese newspaper Asahi.
READ ALSOSling of elected officials against the Tokyo Olympics, in tune with the population“Women are competitive. If one raises their hand [pour intervenir, NDLR], others believe that they should speak out too. That’s why everyone ends up talking, ”he had developed during a meeting with the Japanese Olympic committee which was open to the press. Yoshiro Mori was also pleased that the women members of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee know “stay in their place”.
Outraged reactions on social networks
The International Olympic Committee “considers that the case is closed”, since the boss of the Games “has apologized”, a spokesperson told Agence France-Presse on Thursday. But the case embarrassed Thursday even Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who was booed by opposition in parliament for initially saying he was “not aware of the details”. Such remarks “should not be allowed”, finally let go Yoshihide Suga. The Japanese Minister of the Olympic Games, Seiko Hashimoto, wished to have a “frank discussion” with Yoshiro Mori, reminding the media that gender equality was a principle at the heart of Olympism.
READ ALSOCovid: the end of the Japanese exception
His statements sparked outrage on social media in Japan. Renho, a parliamentary opposition figure in Japan who is called Renho Murata and only uses his first name in his political career, called Yoshiro Mori’s comments shameful, which she said goes against the Olympic values, opposed to all forms of discrimination. Former Japanese athletes have also reacted, such as Kaori Yamaguchi, former judoka and member of the Japanese Olympic committee, who found the comments of Yoshiro Mori unfortunate. Gender equality is supposed “to be a prerequisite for organizing the Tokyo Games,” she added.
The Olympics organized “whatever happens”
Yoshiro Mori, known to have already committed many blunders, especially when he was Prime Minister of Japan, also generated another controversy at the beginning of the week by affirming loud and clear that the Tokyo Olympics would be held this summer no matter what. concerning the evolution of the health crisis in the world.
READ ALSOCovid-19: “Japanese-style tracing”, a miracle solution?
Popular Japanese comedian Atsushi Tamura announced on YouTube on Thursday that he was withdrawing from the Olympic Torch Relay after Yoshiro Mori’s peremptory comments about the Games. He deemed them “incomprehensible” in view of the pandemic, which is also affecting Japan.