Tokyo Governor Says Olympics Face ‘Big Problem’ After Mori’s Sexist Comments

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3/3 © Reuters. Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori in Tokyo 2/3

TOKYO (Reuters) – Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said on Friday that the Olympics faced a “major problem” after the head of the organizing committee made sexist comments and criticism of his comments showed no signs of abating. Yoshiro Mori, 83, unleashed a firestorm on social media both at home and abroad this week with comments that women were talking too much, comments made at a meeting with the Japan Olympic Committee (JOC) of the who later retracted and apologized but refused to do so. resign. “The mission of the metropolis and the organizing committee is to prepare a safe and secure Games, and we are facing a major problem,” said Koike. Anger over Mori’s comments is likely to further alienate the Japanese public who are wary of Tokyo’s attempts to hold the Games during a pandemic. Almost 80 percent of the public oppose holding the Games in July, according to the most recent poll. The International Olympic Committee said Thursday that Mori’s apology had solved the problem, but criticism of Mori, a former Japanese prime minister, continued on Friday. “There are all kinds of criticisms. I hope that people understand the fact that (the preparation for) the Games must be carried out with the understanding and cooperation of people from all over the world,” the main spokesman told a news conference. of the Japanese government, Katsunobu Kato. He said the government‘s understanding was that the IOC considered the matter closed, but added: “It is a comment that should not have been made.” Angry and frustrated Japanese athletes and activists see her comments as a clear sign that gender equality in Japanese sports, and society as a whole, remains a distant dream. Japan consistently lags behind its peers in promoting gender equality, ranking 121st out of 153 countries surveyed in the World Economic Forum’s 2020 global gender gap report. “I felt angry for the first time in a long time,” professional soccer player Shiho Shimoyamada said in a tweet. “There is no point in retracting comments that have already come to light. Unless you really acknowledge the bias and take action against it, I think the same thing will happen again.” An online petition started by Change.org calling for “Analyze how to deal with Mori and prevent recurrences” had obtained 12,000 signatures as of noon Friday. Other cabinet ministers also called Mori. Takuya Hirai, the cabinet minister in charge of digital transformation, was quoted by the Kyodo news agency as saying, “I can’t imagine what led him to make that kind of comment. It’s unacceptable.”

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