“I feel that the comments made during the meeting with the Japanese Olympic Committee are against the spirit of the Olympics. Sorry,” Mori, 83, told a news conference.
On Wednesday, Yoshiro Mori argued that it was difficult for women to be concise, noting that female members of the governing body “know how to put themselves in their place.”
The reports of the chairman of the organizing committee for the next edition of the Olympic Games (OJ), which was postponed to 2021 due to the Kovit-19 epidemic, were released during a meeting with the Japanese Olympic Committee, opened to the media and reproduced daily by Asahi Shimpan.
“Board of directors meetings in the presence of many women take longer. If the number of female members increases and intervention time is less, it is very difficult to bring them to an end, which is irritating,” Mori said.
“Women have a competitive attitude. When one raises a hand, others feel obligated to express themselves. That’s why everyone ended up talking,” she added.
The former Japanese Prime Minister (2000-2001) noted that “there are seven women on the organizing committee, but they know how to position themselves”, which caused a smile among many officials who attended a meeting.
The reports led to criticism on the social networking site Twitter, calling for Mori to resign, accusing him of discriminating against women.
Because of the controversy, when asked if he wanted to leave the post, Mori initially turned down the offer, but added: “If everyone tells me I’m harassing them, I should think about it.”
The head of the team that prepares the next OJs in the Japanese capital reiterated his apology to those who were offended by the reports and to the people who are part of the organization, considering that “they are doing everything they can” to win the competition.
Japan ranks 121st out of 153 countries in the most recent World Economic Forum report on gender equality and 131st in the proportion of women in high positions in business, politics and public administration.