TOKYO, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Tokyo Olympic chief Yoshiro Mori held a news conference on Thursday after his sexist comments that women talk too much sparked a social media firestorm and calls for his resignation.
Here is Mori’s original comments at a Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) board of trustees meeting this week and a selection of his answers at the news conference:
JOC BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETING
“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,” said Mori, according to the Asahi report.
“We have about seven women at the organising committee but everyone understands their place.”
“My remarks went against the spirit of the Olympics and Paralympics and were inappropriate. For that, I feel deep remorse and I would like to retract my remarks. I also want to apologise to the people I offended.”
Q: Your remarks have drawn criticism both domestically and from overseas. Have you thought of resigning?
A: “I have no intention of resigning. I have been working hard, constructively helping, for seven years. If people say I’m in the way...then maybe they can sweep me away.
“I didn’t make the comments at our own organisation, but at the Japan Olympic Committee. And that was because they came to me for advice. And on personnel matters I told JOC (chief Yasuhiro) Yamashita that if you get too hung up on the government’s numbers under their governance code you could face difficulties in management.
“In that backdrop I told him about what I had heard from other organisations (about the difficulty of having women on their board) and made those remarks.”
Q: Do you think women talk long?
A: “I don’t listen to women lately so I don’t really know... I talk long too.”
Q: You talked about your remarks going against the Olympic spirit. Do you think someone who would make such remarks is an appropriate choice as chairman of the Olympic organising committee?
A: “Who knows... What do you think?”
Q: People are angry about your latest comments, and there are people who say they don’t want to watch “Mori’s Olympics”. What’s your response?
A: “I humbly accept that, and that’s why I’m saying I am retracting my comments.” (Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by David Dolan and Michael Perry)