Naomi Osaka has hit out at Olympic chief organiser Yoshiro Mori after his caused a sexism storm with his comments about women in business meetings.
Yoshiro Mori, an 83-year-old former prime minister, was speaking to the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) when he reportedly made the comments: “board of directors meetings with many women take a lot of time”, according to the Asahi Shimbun Daily.
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“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 some members of the council reportedly laughed.
The comments come as Japan struggles to match the world leaders in promoting gender equality.
This prompted Osaka, a leading face of the Games in her home nation, to join the growing criticism of the former Japanese prime minister.
The gaffe-prone Mori has apologised but refused to step down, and attempted to justify his comments by explaining he doesn't "speak to women much".
"I feel like that was a really ignorant statement to make," said Osaka, 23, referring to the original remarks.
"I think that someone that makes comments like that, they need to have more knowledge on the thing that they're talking about."
Osaka said she wanted an explanation to why these comments were made.
"I also want to hear the reasoning behind those comments," said the three-time Grand Slam winner, ahead of the Australian Open in Melbourne, a tournament she won in 2019.
"I also want to hear the perspective of everyone else that surrounds him."
Japan lags behind in gender gap equality
While leading in many international indicators, Japan ranks 121 out of 153 in nations surveyed for the 2020 global gender gap report of the World Economic Forum.
Mori’s comments are also exacerbated considering the JOC decided last year to aim for females to make up more than 40 per cent of the board.
But as of November, there were only five women of 24 members on the board.
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