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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 February 3 - 9  > Japan gov't defends sexist head of Tokyo Games
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2021 February 3 - 9 TOP3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Japan gov't defends sexist head of Tokyo Games

February 6 & 7, 2021

Japanese Communist Party Policy Commission Chair Tamura Tomoko at a press conference held in the Diet building on February 5 criticized the sexist remarks made by Mori Yoshiro, president of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, for "denying global efforts to achieve gender equality".

The world's governments are moving forward toward the goal of increasing the share of women in leadership positions to 30% by 2020 based on the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Mori, however, said that many sports associations in Japan are appointing women to executive posts "because the Ministry of Sports is putting pressure on them to do so."

Noting this remark, Tamura said, "Japan lags far behind other countries in efforts to accomplish the 30% target. What Mori said basically amounts to the rejection of women's participation in decision-making and policy-making processes."

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide in response to opposition party Dietmembers demanding Mori's resignation said, "I do not have such authority" (Feb.5, Lower House Budget Committee). Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Katsunobu said that the government is not going to do anything over this issue, saying, "It is the Organizing Committee's business" (Feb.5, press conference).

Furthermore, Seko Hiroshige, secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party in the Upper House, defended Mori by saying, "He already expressed his remorse and apologized, retracting the remarks in question. He is the kind of person who cannot be replaced," adding, "Why don't we put the issue to rest now? It is important, more than anything else, to push forward with the preparation for the Tokyo Games" (Feb.5, press conference).

The government is downplaying the gravity of the issue despite being criticized both at home and abroad for Mori's sexist remarks. It even seeks to draw the curtain on the issue. The Japanese government's and the ruling LDP's lack of awareness of the importance of gender equality has been put on full display.

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