Ex-Tokyo Olympics chief again criticised for sexist comment

Yoshiro Mori makes another remark that’s getting slammed as disrespectful to women.

Yoshiro Mori announces his resignation at a meeting with council and executive board members at the Tokyo Olympics organising committee headquarters in Tokyo, in February, 2021.   -  AP

Former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, who resigned last month as president of the Tokyo Olympic organising committee over comments criticised as sexist, has made another remark that's getting slammed as disrespectful to women.

Mori, speaking late on Friday at a party for a politician at a Tokyo hotel, referred to the politician's aide as “way too old to be called a woman.” He called her “obachan,” which means “old mama” in Japanese, and told the audience she was “astonishing.” His remark was trending on Japanese online news and social media, with some expressing outrage on Saturday.

“He is incurable,” Isoko Mochizuki, reporter for Tokyo Shimbun, lamented on Twitter. “He has made yet another remark discriminatory toward women.” Others said Mori had not repented and one said sarcastically he deserved a gold medal for sexism.

Mori stepped down in February after a fury of criticism over his widely reported remarks at a Japan Olympic Committee meeting that women “talk too much.” Despite being one of the most developed economies in the world, Japan has consistently lagged in promoting women to positions of power, including board rooms, parliament and the Tokyo Olympics organising committee.

Mori was replaced by Seiko Hashimoto, a woman, Olympian and speedskating bronze medallist. Women were also added to the organising committee board, with less than four months to go before the Opening Ceremony.

The Games were postponed from last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Public opinion surveys show the Japanese public is opposed to holding the Olympics, but the government remains determined to go ahead. The Olympics torch relay began Thursday.