Reuters and ABC News: Tokyo 2020 chief Mori makes sexist remarks at Olympics meeting. It’s been within character for decades now, so retire him.

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Hi Blog. President of the 2020 Japan Olympics Committee (JOC), former abysmally unpopular PM, and professional geriatric grouch Mori Yoshiro has put his foot in it again. He’s gone off on the women allegedly cluttering his committees (he even got the number of them wrong), after there was a suggestion from somewhere that the gender imbalance on the committee be addressed. Articles follow, then comments:

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Tokyo 2020 chief Mori makes sexist remarks at Games meeting – newspaper
Reuters, Wed, February 3, 2021, courtesy of MG

https://sports.yahoo.com/tokyo-2020-chief-mori-makes-144553091.html

TOKYO (Reuters) – The president of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee told a meeting on Wednesday that female directors talked too much, which was “annoying”, according to Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun.

Yoshiro Mori, a former prime minister, made the comments, some of which were greeted with laughter, at a meeting with members of the Japanese Olympic Committee, the Asahi reported.

Tokyo 2020 could not be immediately reached for comment.

“If we increase the number of female board members, we have to make sure their speaking time is restricted somewhat, they have difficulty finishing, which is annoying,” Mori said, according to the report from the Asahi, one of Japan’s leading daily papers. “We have about seven women at the organising committee but everyone understands their place.”

The JOC board has 25 members, of whom five are women.

According to the committee’s governance code, established in 2019, it should be aiming to make sure that 40% seats on the board are filled by women.

The 83-year-old Tokyo 2020 chief was already facing criticism for comments he has made about the Games, amid growing public opposition in Japan to holding the postponed event this summer while the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging.

On Tuesday, Mori had told a meeting with Japan’s Sports Research Commission that “we will hold the Olympics, regardless of how the coronavirus (situation) looks”.

In response to those comments, Japanese comedian Atsushi Tamura, who was set to be an Olympic torchbearer, said he would decline to run in the torch relay due to begin March 25.

(Reporting by Jack Tarrant and Mari Saito; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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ABC News adds (excerpt):

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Tokyo Olympics chief apologizes for sexist comments that women talk too much in meetings
“I deeply regret it,” he told reporters Thursday.
By Anthony Trotter and Morgan Winsor
ABC News (USA), February 4, 2021, Courtesy of the Author
https://abcnews.go.com/International/tokyo-olympics-chief-apologizes-sexist-comments-women-talk/story?id=75677674

Mori, an 83-year-old former prime minister of Japan, made the remarks during an executive meeting of the Japanese Olympic Committee that was held online Wednesday. When giving his “private opinion” about the committee’s goal of increasing the number of female board directors from 20% to more than 40%, Mori expressed concern about how that would affect the length of meetings, according to a report by The Asahi Shimbun, one of Japan’s largest daily newspapers. […]

“A meeting of an executive board that includes many women would take time,” Mori was quoted as saying by the newspaper. “Women are competitive. When someone raises his or her hand and speaks, they probably think they should speak too. That is why they all end up making comments.” […]

Speaking at a hastily-prepared press conference on Thursday, Mori confirmed he made the comments and offered an apology.

“It was an inappropriate remark that went against the spirit of the Olympics and Paralympics,” he said. “I deeply regret it and would like to sincerely apologize to anyone whom I have offended.”

When asked about the calls for his resignation, Mori told reporters: “I’m not considering resigning.” […]
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Rest of the article with more contextualizing information than the Reuters’ piece at
https://abcnews.go.com/International/tokyo-olympics-chief-apologizes-sexist-comments-women-talk/story?id=75677674

COMMENT from Submitter MG: “Just wanted to send another bit of good Debito fodder from our ol’ buddy Mori Yoshiro. Just another reminder of what a terrible choice it was to hire this jerk to head an Olympics that really should just never have been handed to Japan in the first place when there was still a ruined Tohoku that needed rebuilding. Were it not for the long-term economic consequences that will follow my beloved adopted home country due to folly of these Games, I would surely enjoy the schadenfreude of a group of elites getting egg all over their face.”

COMMENT FROM DEBITO: Let me explain why this is a Debito.org Issue. First, Debito.org came out against Japan holding the Olympics because a) international events bring out the worst in Japan’s media and policing tendencies, and b) Japan played dirty pool to get them (including racist comments about fellow contender Istanbul being unsuitable as a venue because it is “Islamic”).  Because beating out other candidate countries, and getting reaffirmation that Japan still matters on the world stage, is what Japan’s leaders care about, not sports.  Heck, Japan can’t even play fair when there are “foreign competitors” within its DOMESTIC sports (see here, here, and here).

But then we get to Mori. We’ve covered him quite a bit on Debito.org for his racist comments (for example, about Japanese Olympians Chris and Cathy Reed, where he attributed their inability to medal because they were “naturalized”, not Real Japanese). Then we get to his bigoted statements about how Japan (aka the “Kokutai”) is the “Land of the Gods” (Kami no Kuni), a sentiment that belongs in the rhetoric of Prewar Japan leaders destined for defeat.

I called this entitled old man “a mould for gorilla cookies” long ago because even then I saw him as a waste of space.  He’s the type of Japan elite dinosaur zombie politician (in the same vein as equally useless Former PM Aso Taro) who feels like he can say whatever pops into his “shark brain” and not be held accountable for it.  Because he never really has.  Despite being a lousy leader, he just keeps on getting jobs leading things — in his case, high-profile sports committees (such as the Rugby World Cup in 2019) that turn into international embarrassments.  As it has again today.

To Japan, tolerating Mori Yoshiro is like tolerating gaffes from the UK’s Prince Philip.  But Mori is not royalty, endured only because his position is essential upholding an apparently sacrosanct system.  He should be retired from public service immediately even if he refuses to resign.  It’s obviously long overdue.  Debito Arudou, Ph.D.

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36 comments on “Reuters and ABC News: Tokyo 2020 chief Mori makes sexist remarks at Olympics meeting. It’s been within character for decades now, so retire him.

  • He helped get the Rugby World Cup so people remember that.
    The mediocre rise to the top. After Nakasone passed away it is like he is the dai sempai of Japanese politics and he can get away with things. Also he has not been paid over the last seven years for his role. His wife, daughter and granddaughter told him what they thought about what he said. Mombusho wants more women participating in the committee, and invited the female professor from Showa Women’s University and it was her who must have talked to AFP.

  • https://www.japantimes.co.jp/whose-gaffe-is-that/
    Take the challenge and do the quiz! Yep, he’s on here.

    My query is, how does he still keep getting jobs like this? Who gives it to him? Golden parachute?

    A side anecdote is not a few Tokyoites voted for Ishihara “because he can speak out”, kind of like voting for Trump “because he says funny things no one else would”. Politician as entertainment culture?

    Should be a J gameshow. Probably already is. People say idiotic things on J TV beyond the pale. One panellist said if a North Korean atomic bomb exploded over Tokyo, “at least his house would be OK, as he lived way out in Hachioji or somewhere”. Really outrageous and inappropriate comments seem to be normalized.

    But of course when the BBC make a side joke about poor train service in the UK compared to the train running after Hiroshima, the J Embassy calls them out on it.

    Pure hypocrisy, insecurity and hypersensitivity.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    The UK’s The Guardian newspaper was priceless yesterday. Just a picture of Mori and the headline ‘Said something stupid again’.

    — Would love a screenshot.

  • Andrew in Saitama says:

    I see it in the classroom, I see it in the Diet:
    ****holes who are allowed to get away with just about anything because “it’s their character”.

    • Jim Di Griz says:

      Not to go off on a tangent, but this is a product of Confucianism as much as bad parenting etc.
      Confucius was never explicit on the issue of whether human nature was inherently good or bad, and later Confucian scholars fell into two broad groups; those who believed mans inherent nature was good, but ‘the world’ made him bad, and those that believed man was born inherently bad and needed laws to make him act ‘good’.
      (The latter group were advisors to the first Chin Emperor and created a fascist police state; the lead advisor was executed for breaking curfew when returning home from a late night meeting with the emperor, because ‘the law is the law’).
      Ironically, the Samurai behind the anti-Tokugawa shogunate restoration of the Emperor of Japan were inspired by the ‘re-discovery’ of Confucian texts translated into Japanese, and this laid the groundwork for the rejection of the Bakufu’s samurai’s culture of Buddhism, replacing it with State-Shinto and its Emperor ruling by Mandate of Heaven.
      Interestingly, they seem to have embraced the fascism of the ‘man is inherently bad’ school of thought, and created a police state that they are unable to kick to this day.
      On the other hand, the idea that ‘they’re just being kids; kids act out’ and ‘boys will be boys’ (re: misogyny) along with the until recently high age of adulthood for criminal offenses and voting shows a remarkable belief in the opposing school of Confucian thought; people are inherently good- they ‘do bad’ by mistake, not intention.
      It’s quite bizarre.

    • I can only conclude he is popular in his peer circle, the erai hito, and also can exploit the seniority system.
      Youve seen it in the classroom, I have seen it in the corporate world too, some goofy manager guy making gaffes (and being excluded from international board meetings etc) but oddly is popular with his own local staff, so gets away with it.
      I cant quite get my head around this aspect of Japanese society, tolerance for intolerance, it doesnt even have to be erai hito particularly, if the person is “funny” or “harmless” (actually goofy) they will get their way as they “can do no real harm/wrong”.

      Tolerance for intolerance. Maybe Jim has a hold on this, plus the popularity of essentially foolish, ditzy characters in Japanese society? (I do recall one student who would deliberately make English mistakes if she thought she was getting too good, to appear cute, we thought at the time, but just annoying for the western teachers. “Cultural errr, difference?”)

      • Those types of ditzy people survive as CEOs in Japan because no one can be jealous or fearful of them. Nor will they rock the boat or make upheavals.

        Its crazy but it seems to be a thing.

  • Turns out that Koike was responsible for the Olympics as governor of Tokyo but Mori said he would help her. Do notice how Koike tempered her criticism of him. Also Mori took no salary and gave it to charity. The pay is 2,4 million. Anyway of course he has a big mouth. He cannot bite his tongue.

        • David Markle says:

          That has to be per month. That much is not even a night out in Kabukicho for politicians like Mori.

          • AnonymousOG says:

            All power wielders receive millions of dollars in unreported bribes annually, so all such officially-modest-salaries (and all such ‘giving it all to charity’ theatrics) are all just for show, you know.

    • Jim Di Griz says:

      Whoah, hang on.
      Mori gives his ‘salary’ from the JOC (which is ultimately tax ¥) to a ‘charity’ of his choice?
      I bet he doesn’t forget to claim it as a tax deduction on his other sources of income.
      C’mon, no one’s doing anyone any favors here. The Olympics are a scam designed to separate tax money from taxpayers whilst they’re all drunk on flag waving propaganda.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    It looks like some local volunteers are dropping out after his gaffe. There’s a campaign against Mori and JOC on Change.org.
    https://www.change.org/p/東京オリンピック-パラリンピック大会組織委員会-森喜朗会長の辞任を要求します-オリンピック/c

    A committee member Hayley Wickenheiser is ready to torture that idiot.
    https://twitter.com/wick_22/status/1357122635767840769?s=20

    Also, what’s more disturbing is Thomas Bach (president of IOC) defended that old fart(老害), and understandably, people are not happy about that. Like JOC, IOC has a serious accountability problem.

  • Another old LDP fart who should have been removed from any public position two decades ago. Didn‘t Thomas Bach say that the Olympics are about diversity and unity last year? It‘s weird that he defends Mori then and doesn‘t have anything to say about Japan‘s treatment of its minorities. But the next winter Olympics are going to be held in China, so I‘m not really surprised. Maybe we‘ll be able to see the games in North Korea next.

    But why is he lying then?

    „You are part of an event that unites the world. In the Olympic Games, we are all equal. Everyone respects the same rules, irrespective of social background, gender, race, sexual orientation or political belief.“

    So according to Bach everyone respects things such as different genders and „races“, except for host countries like Japan and China. Bach looks like a big hypocrit to me.

    https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/oct/24/the-olympics-are-about-diversity-and-unity-not-politics-and-profit-boycotts-dont-work-thomas-bach

  • David Markle says:

    https://sports.yahoo.com/tennis-star-osaka-slams-ignorant-065849041.html

    “I also want to hear the reasoning behind those comments,” 

    “I also want to hear the perspective of everyone else that surrounds him.”

    Wow! What a body slam! He must be seeing stars from that humongous whalop she gave him. So she goes Japanese when it suits her. Hmmm. From the “face” of the Olympics herself? The reasoning behind those comments? Well, the reasoning is: “I am a bigoted, old, racist and at 83 I got tired of just thinking those things all my life, my mouth just went off by itself. I dont really care about the Olympics anyway, the job was just a way to occupy myself.”

    • She almost seems like shes making excuses for him or thinking of a logical explanation why he would make these comments.
      Then she does the ultra cautious Japanese American thing of over compensating the cliches shes heard about trad J society, by evoking the Groupthink factor; “I also want to hear the perspective of everyone else that surrounds him.”

      Actually the people around him love him. They benefit from membership in that clique. They arent the ones hurt by the comments.

      So that makes it all OK for everyone else, does it Naomi? Your job here is done, Captain HIndsight!

  • He will not quit. He has friends in the right places. He said that this is it for him. After the Olympics he will retire.

    • “When I looked around, those who didn’t say anything were all crying,” Mori is quoted as saying.

      “What struck home most were Mr. Muto’s words – ‘if you step down as President, what would become of this organisation of 5,000 people?'”
      https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1103935/mori-convinced-not-to-resign-sexism-row

      Several comparisons come to mind ranging from extreme paternalism, North Korean elites etc but I ll let others here draw their own conclusions.

    • Well Bach changed his mind. Probably got an earful from German women. Also sponsors like Toyota, Eneos and an insurance company are grumbling. Are they Olympic sponsors? Maybe gaiatsu will work. Even Koike decided to skip the latest meeting.

  • J-apologist Naomi Osaka almost seems to be making excuses for him, a lot of hesitation to condemn him, just that the comments were “ignorant” and needed more knowledge of the subject and she “wanted to know the feelings of the people around him”- I posted above his inner circle love him, for paternalist and seniority reasons (Dai Sempai factor, as stated by Brooks).

    Watch her squirm at
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-olympics-2020-mori-osaka-idUSKBN2A60BK

    • Watching this, I couldn’t help but notice her striking similarity to Jesse Owens!
      Who could forget Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Olympics telling the worlds press that whilst Hitler was making ignorant comments, he wanted to know how Himmler, Goering, Goebbels and other nazis around Hitler felt…?
      It’s a shame there isn’t a talented black activist journalist who is also living in Japan as a NJ who could write a whole newspaper article about this…

      • “Hmm, its such an interesting question… I’m just a tennis player…. I don’t know the context..”

        Did he say it in private? Or was it public. Did he say it on a dare? Was he reading from a script? Was it poetry slam?

        “women board members talk too much”

        But I’m just a tennis player, so maybe…..he’s right?

        • Shes only just a tennis player when it comes to anything controversial in Japan.
          If its Black Lives MAtter then she jumps on that bandwagon as its allowed to be a prt of the protest.
          Definite Virtue Signaller. And ironically, quite ignorant it would seem, too.

          • Well, this is the thing. She’s very strong in condemning intolerance in the tolerant society of the US, but ever so timid about calling out intolerance in the land of ‘the nail sticks out gets hammered’ Japan, isn’t she. Not very brave, is it.
            Yeah, Owens never said that, he was a real hero.

            — Point of order: This linkage of Osaka Naomi with Jesse Owens was not done by Osaka herself. It was made by a columnist who has a practice of buttering up his targeted subjects in public in hopes of getting in their good graces and obtaining exclusive interviews. It wasn’t a well-considered comparison — more an attempt at self-promotion.

            So we can keep hammering on about Jesse Owens, but I think using it as a means to criticize Osaka is a bit off-target when it wasn’t her claim in the first place.

      • Reari? OK so she IS the Japanese Jesse Owens, in that she makes apologies for neo fascists. Hmm, not sure that was what she wanted but she wanted that territory. Goes with the role.

        —- I’m not sure Owens actually did that.

    • Loverilakkuma says:

      Here’s a press conference by TOCOP yesterday. His haughty attitude is unhinging the moment he brags about the series of accomplishments in the last 7 years. Nevermind ‘hansei.’ No single woman has ever emerged in his plastic encomium. Only he and his geriatric-studded clan deserve a full credit. Typical of MCP figurehead.

      Link here:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49k3TBxMgho

  • David Markle says:

    And his replacement will be somebody even worse.

    84-year-old Saburo Kawabuchi, a former president of the Japanese soccer association.

    Reminds me of the time a friend complained to the Kanagawa city office where he lived that child allowances for single men were only half what single women were given by the local government. So what they did was cut in half the allowances they gave to women.

    Just to show everyone who has the power, If you complain about the person we give you then we will give you somebody even worse. Ha! ha!

    • Well, it’s the system isn’t it.

      About Japan’s tardiness to address these “-ism” issues, people like to say “oh but the young people who are coming up now are different so Japan will be different soon!

      Not really, the gerocrats don’t allow people with expansive world views to join their clubs of power. Only people who are inculcated in the proscriptive Japan is divine and superior view are selected, empowered, and promoted.

  • Well now it went to a committee. I don’t know who gets to choose but officially it is Koike’s job, as governor of Tokyo. So it has to be a younger person (younger than 83?) or a woman. Koike didn’t want the job.
    So Mori’s choice is rejected. What a shambles.

  • David Markle says:

    https://www.yahoo.com/sports/better-activists-slam-tokyo-2020-042822868.html

    “We’re going to keep pressuring the Olympic committee to do better.”

    Do better? Well, we will see how far that goes.

    I think the reason equal rights for foreigners doesnt ring any bells for most people is that it doesnt effect them personally. If it did, they might recognize that rights for NJ means more rights for everybody, but as others have pointed out, in a Shinto culture everything is zero sum. What is good for some is bad for others and so forth. This is a hard mentality to change.

  • Japan is really pulling out all the stops to get the Olympics to go ahead;
    First, stop contact tracing and manufacture a ‘defeat’ of the virus.
    Second, spend more than any other country (more than the total cost of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars in fact) on coronavirus stimulus (i.e. order the bank of Japan to print money, then let the bank of Japan use that money to buy more stocks, pumping up the Nikkei).
    Voila! Headlines like this!
    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/02/15/national/coronavirus-japan-feb15/

    And
    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/02/15/business/financial-markets/nikkei-likely-rise/

    It’s like living in Soviet Russia. The headlines are a fantasy invented to lend prestige to an unpopular PM pursuing an unpopular agenda, and bear no relationship to reality.

    Still hundreds dying at home because they can’t get a hospital bed:

    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/02/13/national/outside-hospitals-deaths/

    But MUST insist on vanity project Olympics because…
    National pride! Global image!

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