The president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee apologized Thursday for a sexist comment made earlier in the week about women talking too much at board meetings but said he would not resign, Reuters reported.
Yoshiro Mori made the initial remark during a virtual committee meeting of the board of directors. When discussing the committee’s plan to expand female representation on the board, the Tokyo Olympics chief responded: “On boards with lots of women, the board meetings take so much time,” according to Reuters.
“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,” the 83-year-old added.
Mori made an exception for women already serving on the Olympic committee, claiming they should not have their speaking time limited because they have “experience working international arenas,” The Hill reported. (RELATED: REPORT: High Fives, Handshakes And Hugs Won’t Be Allowed At The Summer Olympics In Tokyo)
When confronted about whether he really believes women talk too much at a news conference, Mori responded: “I don’t listen to women that much lately so I don’t know,” Reuters reported.
Despite the backlash on social media, Mori refuses to resign, claiming: “I have been working hard and helped devotedly for seven years. I will not be stepping down.”
The International Olympic Committee board of directors will also not be pressuring Mori to step down, according to The Hill.
The former Japanese prime minister acknowledged on Thursday that the statement was “inappropriate” and at odds with the Olympic spirit, adding: “I feel deep remorse and I would like to retract my remarks…I would like to apologize for any unpleasant feelings,” according to Reuters.
The Tokyo Olympic Games are set to begin on July 23.