Yoshiro Mori just keeps finding ways to be stupid, unpopular, or both.
The president of the embattled Tokyo Olympic Committee made sexist remarks during a virtual executive meeting when he suggested regulating women’s speech time.
Mori was reportedly asked to comment on the Olympic Committee’s plan to raise its ratio of women board members above 40 percent. He didn’t do that. Instead, he said he is “on boards with a lot of women, the board meetings take so much time.” According to the Asahi Shimbun, the comments were met with laughter. Maybe uncomfortable laughter? “Women have a strong sense of competition. If one person raises their hand, others probably think, I need to say something, too. That’s why everyone speaks.”
He should’ve stopped there, maybe taken a second or two to think about what he said, and offered an immediate apology. But, of course, he did none of those things.
“You have to regulate speaking time to some extent,” Mori said of his female colleagues. “Or else we’ll never be able to finish.”
Um… what kind of BS is that? Sexist comments like these could, I donno, be the reason why so many women in sports, politics, and other professions say they feel sidelined and demeaned by powerful men in their respective industries.
Fortunately, Mori’s remarks immediately prompted outrage from many Japanese citizens on social media.
Mori has already resigned from one high-profile job. In 2001, after just a year as Prime Minister, he exited early with approval ratings in the single digits. He has been described in the BBC as “one of Japan’s most unpopular leaders” and political sources in the country have said he has “the heart of a flea and the brain of a shark.” Naturally, he was appointed in 2014 to lead the 2020 Olympic organizing committee.
Yesterday, he told Japanese political leaders that the Tokyo Games, already postponed to 2021, will go on “no matter what [the] situation would be with the coronavirus.” His remarks come three weeks after a Kyodo News poll found 80 percent of Japanese citizens favored further postponement or outright cancelation of the games.
On the same day of Mori’s proclamation, Japan extended its state of emergency for another month due to COVID-19 infections and limited healthcare capacity.
Do a quick scan of Mori’s Wikipedia page and you’ll find a list of “undiplomatic comments” like when he made a joke about having AIDS or, when asked about Y2K in the US, said, “when there is a blackout, the murderers always come out. It’s that type of society.”
Men like Mori get chance after chance to redeem themselves in the public eye with seemingly no repercussions. Somehow, he now may be more unpopular than the Tokyo Olympics — which no one wants (excluding Florida). But he’ll be the guy tasked with making sure the games happen in a matter of months. Unless, of course, he resigns again.