As if Tokyo 2020 organisers didn’t have enough on their plate, they’ve now been sent swirling into a sexism storm after some outrageous comments.
As if Tokyo 2020 organisers didn’t have enough on their plate, they’ve now been sent swirling into a sexism storm after some outrageous comments.

Olympics boss says women talk too much

The boss of the Tokyo 2020 Games risked sparking a sexism row after it was reported on Wednesday he said women made meetings drag on because they "have difficulty" speaking concisely.

Yoshiro Mori, an 83-year-old former prime minister known for public gaffes, told members of the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) that "a board meeting with plenty of women will make it drag on", according to the Asahi Shimbun daily.

"When you increase the number of female executive members, if their speaking time isn't restricted to a certain extent, they have difficulty finishing, which is annoying," he said, as some members of the council reportedly laughed.

"Women have a strong sense of rivalry," Mori reportedly added. "If one (female) member raises her hand to speak, all the others feel the need to speak too. Everyone ends up saying something."

JOC director Kaori Yamaguchi, who has worked to increase the presence of women in the male-dominated sports world, criticised Mori for his comments.

"Gender equality and consideration for people with disabilities were supposed to be a given for the Tokyo Games. It is unfortunate to see the president of the organising committee make such a remark," she said.

While ranking highly on a range of international indicators, Japan persistently trails on promoting gender equality, ranking 121 out of 153 nations surveyed in the 2020 global gender gap report of the World Economic Forum.

The JOC itself decided last year to aim for more than 40 per cent of female members at the board, but as of November, there are just five women among the board's 24 members.

"We have about seven women at the organising committee but everyone understands their place," Mori added at the Wednesday meeting, which was open to the media, the Asahi said.

Tokyo 2020 did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the remarks.

Mori's remarks come with increased scrutiny on organisers as they insist the pandemic-postponed Games can go ahead despite surging virus cases around the world.

 

On Tuesday, Mori said the Games would go ahead "however the coronavirus (pandemic) evolves" as organiser unveiled the first of a series of "playbooks" aimed at holding the event safely.

Sports officials will be allowed to skip quarantine as long as they monitor their health for 14 days after arriving in Japan, according to the 32-page document.

During those 14 days, however, the officials will not be allowed to travel outside the Games bubble or watch events as a spectator.

The playbooks are aimed at building confidence that the Games can go ahead even if the pandemic is not under control by the opening ceremony on July 23. The rules are set to be updated in April and again in June.

The first of the guides is aimed at sports officials, with versions for athletes, fans, media and others to follow in the coming weeks.

Doubts about the Games have grown as countries have been forced to re-enter lockdowns, with large parts of Japan currently under a state of emergency.

Japan's government approved a month-long extension of its state of emergency on Tuesday, with measures now running through March 7 in parts of the country.

Tighter border restrictions imposed after infections surged have already forced the postponement of some sporting fixtures in Japan, including this year's first Olympic test event, an artistic swimming qualifier that was scheduled for March.

The nationwide Olympic torch relay is still due to begin on March 25.

- AFP

Originally published as Olympics boss says women talk too much



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