Yoshiro Mori is the president of Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games Organizing Committee, and a former prime minister of Japan. Takashi Aoyama/Pool Photo via AP

Yoshiro Mori, president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee, on Wednesday said women have an “annoying” tendency to make meetings run unnecessarily long.

Speaking to members of the Japanese Olympic Committee with reporters present, Mori said “board of directors meetings with many women take a lot of time.”

“When you increase the number of female executive members, if their speaking time isn’t restricted to a certain extent, they have difficulty finishing, which is annoying,” he said, as told by an Agence France-Presse translation of an Asahi Shimbun story.

“Women are competitive,” Mori added. “When one person raises a hand, others think they need to speak up as well. That’s why everyone speaks.”

Some members of the committee reportedly laughed at Mori’s remarks, which were given in response to a question about the Japan Olympic committee’s goal of having more than 40 percent female members. Only five of 24 members were women as of November.

Mori, who served as Japan’s prime minister for a little more than a year in 2000 and 2001, has a history of offensive remarks. In January 2000, he recalled his first election campaign in 1969 with a joke about AIDS.

“When I was greeting farmers from my car, they all went into their homes. I felt like I had AIDS,” he said.

Later that year, Mori also insulted Americans while talking about their preparedness for the Y2K bug.

“When there is a blackout, the murderers always come out. It’s that type of society,” he said.

Mori’s political career was scandal-ridden even before he became prime minister, and two of his political appointees as prime minister resigned because of fundraising scandals. He also admitted to attending a wedding reception for the son of a former Yakuza boss. With his approval rating in single digits, Mori resigned as prime minister in April 2001.

Mori, 83, became chief of the Tokyo Games organizing committee in 2014 and almost immediately attracted negative attention in his home country by saying that figure skater Mao Asada – a silver medalist at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and a two-time world champion – was “always falling at the most critical time.” He also said that Japanese ice dancers Chris Reed and Cathy Reed, the children of a Japanese mother and American father who were born and raised in the United States but renounced American citizenship to compete for Japan, were “not good enough for the U.S. team in the Olympics.”

TOKYO GAMES PLAYBOOK: Tokyo organizers and the IOC on Wednesday began explaining in public just how they hope to do it, rolling out “Playbooks” to detail the ways that 15,400 athletes will enter Japan – and exit Japan – with the Olympics opening on July 23 and the Paralympics a month later.

“There are indeed a lot of questions in the public domain about how the games will take place this summer. And today is a preliminary review of how things will be done,” Olympic Games executive director Christophe Dubi said in a video news conference with Tokyo officials.

The rollout of the Playbooks is aimed at assuring athletes, and an attempt to convince the Japanese public that the Olympics should go ahead. Polls across Japan show up to 80% want the Olympics postponed or canceled. The public sees the health risk in a country that has controlled the virus better than most.

The Playbook introduced on Wednesday is aimed at international sports federations and technical officials. Guides for athletes, broadcasters and the media will come in the next few days. They are all similar, and these are all the “first versions.” Much of the information is still vague with more details coming in updates in April and June.

CALL FOR BAN: A coalition of 180 rights groups on Wednesday called for a boycott of next year’s Beijing Winter Olympics tied to reported human rights abuses against ethnic minorities in China.

The games are to open in one year, on Feb. 4, 2022, and are set to go forward despite the pandemic. The coalition is composed of groups representing Tibetans, Uighurs, Inner Mongolians, residents of Hong Kong and others.

The group has issued an open letter to governments calling for a boycott of the Olympics “to ensure they are not used to embolden the Chinese government’s appalling rights abuses and crackdowns on dissent.”

Rights groups have previously asked the IOC to move the games from China. Olympic leaders have largely ignored the demands and say it’s only a sporting body that does not get involved with politics.

HOCKEY: St. Louis Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong will be the GM for the Canadian men’s team if if NHL players participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Hockey Canada announced the move Wednesday, tapping Armstrong after he served on the management team that helped Canada win gold medals in Vancouver in 2010 and Sochi in 2014.

Armstrong, who was also GM of Canada’s gold medal-winning team at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, guided the Blues to the Stanley Cup in 2019 and was the NHL’s GM of the year in 2011-12.

 — The Associated Press contributed to this report


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