TOKYO (JAPAN) – A petition launched by Japanese activist urging action against head of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee for sexist remarks has gathered tens of thousands of signatures on Friday.
Yoshiro Mori, 83, remarked that women talked too much, at a meeting with the Japan Olympic Committee (JOC). He later retracted the comments and apologised but refused to resign.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Thursday Mori’s apology had settled the issue, but Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said the games were facing a “major issue”.
Student activist Momoko Nojo, who leads a group called ‘No Youth, No Japan’, said she and other activists started the petition on Change.org to convey the public’s anger to Mori.
By 1330 GMT on Friday, the petition had nearly 87,000 signatures.
“The Olympics is an international event, and he is the top person representing Japan. It is not right for him to make such remarks, and for everyone to let it go by saying ‘Oh well, he’s a grandpa’. If there are people who say it is wrong, if they think it is wrong, we have to voice it,” Nojo said.
The petition calls on the JOC to take action against Mori, although it stops short of calling for his removal. Nojo said the incident had angered many people in Japan and reflected wider societal problems.
“This situation with Mori is not only his personal problem or an issue with the Olympics. It’s also a problem within companies and top-down organization structures in Japanese society,” she said.
“It is a problem when people cannot speak up when someone superior says something outdated. We want to take this opportunity to change that through our petition so that people can speak up more and our society will change for the better.”