Thursday, April 22, 2021

Tokyo Olympics committee races to add women to board

The move comes weeks after a scandal erupted over previous leader Yoshiro Mori saying women talk too much.

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The Tokyo Olympic Games organising committee is set to add 12 new female directors to its executive board after long-time president Yoshiro Mori was forced to quit for making sexist remarks.

His female replacement, Seiko Hashimoto, aims to have women make up 40% of the board members.

The changes come just five months before the games are scheduled to begin, and after public outrage over Mori’s complaint that women talked too much in meetings.

During a meeting of the executive board, the organisers agreed to a rule change allowing a maximum of 45 members, up from the current 35.

“It is possible to add 12 more members, so we decided to add 12 women to the board of directors,” the committee’s chief executive, Toshiro Muto, said on Tuesday,

“We already have seven female directors, so 19 out of 45 will be female directors after the planned addition of new members. Based on the calculation, women will account for 42% of the board members,” Muto said

Hashimoto said the new members would be announced after being approved by committee members on Wednesday.

“Regarding promoting gender equality, I believe that it is necessary to take swift action and provide solid results in order to rebuild trust in the organising committee,” the seven-time Olympian said.

Mori had previously commented that should the number of female board members increase, they would have to “make sure their speaking time is restricted somewhat as they have difficulty finishing, which is annoying”.

He later apologised for his “inappropriate statement” and added that the priority was to make sure the Olympics were held in July.

The Summer Olympics will begin on 23 July, after already being postponed by a year due to the pandemic.

Public opinion in Japan is still divided over whether the games should go ahead or not.

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