Tokyo Olympics chief’s moment of national sexist shame


Tokyo Olympics chief’s moment of national sexist shame

Yoshiro Mori’s lack of remorse in the face of public outrage typifies Japan’s out of touch elite

Leo Lewis

In a late submission to the Olympics line-up, Japan has introduced a new discipline in which the octogenarian president of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee first insults women, and then lumbers angrily through an obstacle course of consequences. In a rigged field, he may even clinch gold.

The on-pitch antics — a masterclass in one man’s determination to clutch a metaphorical electric fence with both hands — have made compelling viewing. Yoshiro Mori, a growly 83-year old former prime minister, who barely managed one year in office, limbered up for the event with a history of public missteps and a record as one of Japan’s postwar leaders with the lowest approval ratings. 

Japan’s sometimes lethargic national conscience may not have been troubled earlier about the risks of putting such a figure in charge of the Olympics’ showcase of youth, diversity and inclusivity. Yet it seems to be fretting now. In remarks that appeared oblivious to the disgust they would cause, Mori said that women did not belong on committees because their “strong sense of rivalry” made meetings last twice as long. Japan’s poor record on gender equality, coupled with the exasperated stream of day-to-day discrimination reported on social media, made this impossible to laugh off. ..

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