Tokyo governor says Olympics facing ‘major issue’ after Mori’s sexist remarks

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The International Olympic Committee said on Thursday that Mori’s apology had settled the issue, but criticism of Mori, a former Japanese prime minister, continued on Friday.

Yasuhiro Yamashita, head of the JOC, said Mori’s comments went against the Olympic spirit and were inappropriate, Kyodo news agency reported.

“There’s all kinds of criticism. I would hope that people grasp the fact that (preparation for) the Games must proceed with the understanding and cooperation of people around the world,” Japan’s top government spokesman Katsunobu Kato told a news conference.

He said the government’s understanding was that the IOC considered the matter closed.

Angry and frustrated Japanese athletes, activists and ordinary women see Mori’s remarks as a clear signal that gender equality in Japanese sports, and society as a whole, remains a distant dream.


“This is the reality of what women in Japan are facing every day. Old guys with outdated mindsets continue to hold power and are making decisions,” said a female staffer at the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, who declined to be identified because she was not authorized to speak to the media.

“Unfortunately in this country, social pressure prohibits women from speaking out about inequality – which makes yesterday’s sexism row even more significant for Japan.”

Japan persistently trails its peers on promoting gender equality, ranking 121 out of 153 nations surveyed in the 2020 global gender gap report of the World Economic Forum.

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