Tokyo Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori will resign Friday after making remarks about women that sparked outrage at home and abroad and were widely slammed as sexist, sources said Thursday. His apparent decision comes after government and ruling party officials expressed harsh views Wednesday regarding his prospects following the derogatory remarks.
Mori should have been forced out within hours of making the comments, argues the JT Editorial Board. There are two possible explanations for the delay. One is that Japan’s leadership does not consider the comments reason enough for his removal. The second is that they do not have the power to do so.
While neither reflects well on them, the board hopes the answer is the second, a failure of capacity, rather than the first, a failure of will.
Discrimination against women in this country is a structural problem, the board notes. As reported in a recent Kyodo feature, Japan has fallen behind other nations in closing down the gender gap in a range of areas, coming 121st out of 153 in the World Economic Forum’s rankings on the issue.
Japan’s laggard status not just in terms of tackling discrimination against women, but also LGBT people and other minorities, has diplomatic ramifications, suggests Satohiro Akimoto in a commentary. Take Japan’s top ally, the U.S., now under new, more diverse management:
“Going forward, it is crucial for Japan to fully recognize and embrace the importance of diversity in American politics as it engages with the Biden administration,” Akimoto writes. “If Japanese officials and politicians only reach out to its traditional counterparts — namely white men — Japan will miss out dealing with more than a half of the 15 new Cabinet members.”