TOKYO: Former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, who resigned last month as president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee over comments criticized as sexist, has made another remark that’s getting slammed as disrespectful to women.
Mori, speaking late Friday at a party for a politician at a Tokyo hotel, referred to the politician’s aide as “way too old to be called a woman.”
He called her “obachan,” which means “old mama” in Japanese, and told the audience she was “astonishing.”
His remark was trending on Japanese online news and social media, with some expressing outrage Saturday.
“He is incurable,” Isoko Mochizuki, reporter for Tokyo Shimbun, lamented on Twitter. “He has made yet another remark discriminatory toward women.”
Others said Mori had not repented and one said sarcastically he deserved a gold medal for sexism.
Mori stepped down in February after a fury of criticism over his widely reported remarks at a Japan Olympic Committee meeting that women “talk too much.”
Despite being one of the most developed economies in the world, Japan has consistently lagged in promoting women to positions of power, including board rooms, parliament and the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee.
Mori was replaced by Seiko Hashimoto, a woman, Olympian and speedskating bronze medalist. Women were also added to the organizing committee board, with less than four months to go before the Opening Ceremony.
The Games were postponed from last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Public opinion surveys show the Japanese public is opposed to holding the Olympics, but the government remains determined to go ahead. The Olympics torch relay began Thursday.