The Chief has since apologised for and retracted his comments, calling them “inappropriate”. 

Yoshiro Mori, who is currently the Chief of the Tokyo Olympics organising committee and former Prime Minister of Japan, has faced much criticism after making claims about women that have since been dubbed sexist.

Speaking to the Japanese Olympic Committee, Mr. Mori stated his view that women talk too much and resultingly, this caused meetings to “drag on”.

In response to the idea that more female directors should be added to the committee, Mr. Mori continued:

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.

Mr. Mori further clarified that this view was due to his belief that women have a “strong sense of rivalry”:

If one raises her hand to speak, all the others feel the need to speak, too. Everyone ends up saying something.

Due to these remarks, many have been calling on Yoshiro Mori to resign his position as Chief of the committee.

Mr. Mori has since refused to do so, saying that he has “[worked] hard and devoted [himself] to helping [the Olympics] for seven years”. However, he has admitted that his words were “inappropriate” and said it ran contrary to the Olympic spirit.

However, these comments have been staunchly criticised by female board directors and sports women alike. Kaori Yamaguchi, a Director on the JOC, said:

Gender equality and consideration for people with disabilities were supposed to be a given for the Tokyo Games. It is unfortunate to see the president of the organising committee make a remark like that.

This raises many questions about how useful diversity quotas are at truly encouraging an inclusive organisational culture.

These comments were made despite the JOC setting itself a target, in 2019, to increase the number of female board directors to 40 per cent. As the most recent figures show, the JOC has five female board directors out of 24 directors.

The International Olympic Committee said it considered the matter closed following the apology.





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.