Mori said at an Olympics board of trustees meeting last week that “board meetings with lots of women take longer” because “women are competitive — if one member raises their hand to speak, others might think they need to talk too,” according to reports in the Japanese press.
“If you want to increase female membership, you would be in trouble unless you put time limits in place,” he is reported to have added.
Speaking at a news conference the next day, the 83-year-old former Japanese Prime Minister confirmed he made the remarks behind closed doors and said he was sorry for doing so.
CNN is seeking comment from Mori’s office, which was not taking calls on Thursday because it is a national holiday in Japan. The Tokyo 2020 organizing committee’s press office told CNN it would refrain from making comment on Mori at this stage.
Games organizers were to due to hold a meeting of Council and Executive Board members in Japan’s capital on Friday to discuss the fallout from Mori remarks.
Mori, who is the head of the organizing committee for the Games, had previously said he was not considering stepping down, but continued public outrage appears to have forced him to shift course.
As of February 4, more than 8,700 people who tested positive for Covid-19 were waiting for a hospital bed or space at an isolation center in 10 prefectures. The week before, more than 18,000 people across 11 prefectures were waiting, according to the prefectures’ health ministries.