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Tokyo Olympics Chief Won't Step Down After Sexist Remarks

Yoshiro Mori apologized for saying meetings with too many women 'drag on,' but he won't resign
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 4, 2021 8:55 AM CST

(Newser) – Anyone upset by sexist remarks made earlier this week by the head of the organizing committee for the Tokyo Olympics might be glad to know he's now apologizing—but don't expect much more than that. "I will not be stepping down," former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori said Thursday, per the AP, citing how "devotedly" he'd toiled to set up the Olympics for the past seven years. The comments that got the 83-year-old into hot water during a virtual meeting of the Japanese Olympic Committee's board of directors, per the Asahi Shimbun: After he called women "very competitive," someone brought up the fact that, of the 24 board members, only five are women, reports the BBC. "If we increase the number of female board members, we have to make sure their speaking time is restricted somewhat," he said. "They have difficulty finishing, which is annoying." Per the Japan Times, he added that meetings of a board with more women would "drag on."

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He noted that the women currently involved with the JOC "[understand] their place," per the BBC, which notes Mori is "known ... for a string of gaffes and undiplomatic statements he made while in office from 2000 to 2001." Mori now says he wants to take the comments back and is "deeply remorseful" for them, adding: "I would like to apologize for any unpleasant feelings." He also told the Mainichi paper that his wife gave him a "thorough scolding," as did his daughter and granddaughter. Outrage over his comments on social media ensued, complete with a #MoriResign hashtag, and JOC Director Kaori Yamaguchi called his remarks "unfortunate," per the Japan Times. The International Olympic Committee, however, is satisfied with his mea culpa. "President Mori has apologized for his comments today. With this, the IOC considers the issue closed," the group said, per the AP. (Read more 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games stories.)

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