Tokyo 2020 Olympic committee to hold special meeting over Mori's comments

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic organisation committee is set to convene a special board meeting after the outcry over Yoshiro Mori's sexist comments.

Yoshiro Mori speaks at a news conference in Tokyo on February 4, 2021. - REUTERS   -  Reuters

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Organising Committee is set to convene a special board meeting as early as this week after the outcry over committee president Yoshiro Mori’s sexist comments, local media reported on Tuesday.

There are no plans to discuss Mori’s resignation at the meeting but he could face a barrage of criticism over his comments, Nikkan Sports reported.

Mori has come under fire for saying last week that meetings with female participants take a long time, adding that they “get competitive” with each other. He apologised and retracted his comments, but the public’s outrage appears far from assuaged.

Following Mori’s remarks, about 390 Games volunteers have quit and local organisers have received more than 4,500 complaints, according to the daily Chunichi Shimbun.

RELATED | Nearly 60 percent of Japanese think Mori unfit for role as Olympics chief

“We are taking this very seriously,” said Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto on Tuesday morning when asked about the resignation of the volunteers.

Sponsors have also distanced themselves. Insurance company Nippon Life Insurance Company told the daily Asahi that it was “disappointed” with the remarks and has made that clear to the organising committee.

'Terrifying'

Hiroaki Nakanishi, chairman of the influential business lobby Keidanren, initially refrained from commenting but later said: “I feel that that’s what some people are really thinking in Japan” and that “social media is terrifying” given how rapidly comments are shared and spread online.

When asked to clarify what he meant, Nakanishi said it was customary in Japan to differentiate between men and women but that thinking is outdated, according to TV Asahi.

But the comment was trending on social media by Monday morning, with people taking to Twitter to express frustrations over Nakanishi’s comments as well.

“He made a sweeping statement about Japan, but I think this is what the chairman himself is thinking. He’s the same as president Mori in his inability to listen to his critics,” said one Twitter user.

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