Multiple "controversies" - not the least of which are looming pandemic risk and health concerns - are threatening to once again derail the Tokyo Olympics. The summer Olympics were already postponed from last year, a first in history, moved to July of this upcoming summer. But now a fresh scandal has again put the pressure and spotlight on the games and its organizers as one of the eldest members of the Olympic Committee is accused of making sexist comments. Reuters reports:
Japan’s Olympic Games faced a "major issue" after the head of the local organizing committee made sexist remarks, Tokyo’s governor said on Friday, sending a clear signal the deepening controversy risked tarnishing the global event.
83-year old Yoshiro Mori unleashed a "social media storm" this week which has since been picked up in a torrent of international reports by simply saying that women talk too much.
Somewhat absurdly (given the multiple major other pressing issues and immense hurdles the Olympic Games are now facing amid a global pandemic), these are the reports now headlining across the world, as The Washington Post recaps:
Yoshiro Mori, president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee, on Wednesday said women have an "annoying" tendency to make meetings run unnecessarily long in comments that he sought to retract Thursday.
Speaking to members of the Japanese Olympic Committee with reporters present, Mori said "board of directors meetings with many women take a lot of time."
"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," he said, as told by an Agence France-Presse translation of an Asahi Shimbun story.
"Women are competitive," Mori added. "When one person raises a hand, others think they need to speak up as well. That’s why everyone speaks."
"Some members of the committee reportedly laughed at Mori’s remarks..." WaPo noted further.
Mori is currently under pressure to resign his post. Making matters worse the whole commentary which apparently may have been an attempt at humor was in response to a question centered on the Japan Olympic Committee's (JOC) gender make up. Critics have said there's not enough female representation.
The controversy has now escalated to be categorized as a matter of "safety" and "security". The comments from the out of touch octogenarian caused Reuters to write this over-the-top line: "The incident has cast another dark shadow over the Games, postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, with just months left before the opening ceremony."
Tokyo's female governor, Yuriko Koike, added fuel to the controversy by saying, "The mission of the metropolis and the organizing committee is to prepare for a safe and secure Games, and we are facing a major issue."
Meanwhile, in real news not subject to as much hyperventilating and over-dramatization, the International Olympic Committee is now mulling canceling the upcoming games altogether as it could be "too dangerous to proceed" amid the continuing coronavirus pandemic.
"The IOC has the power to cancel," IOC Canadian member Dick Pound said in a new interview this week, according to Bloomberg. "I’m sure that would be a decision to be made together with the Japanese government and the Japanese organizers on the basis of advice from the World Health Organization and other scientific data," he added, explaining further it's no longer a matter of merely postponing further: "We don’t have three choices anymore, we have only two - we go or we cancel."