Momoko Nojo: The Tokyo Olympic Games faced a major setback following the backlash that erupted after the head of the local organising committee Yoshiro Mori made sexist remarks.
The 83-year-old former set off a social media outrage for his remarks made in a meeting with the Japan Olympic Committee (JOC), where Mori commented that women talked too much.
Consequently, a 22-year-old Japanese college student launched an online campaign against the chief for the remarks. In no time, the campaign organised by Momoko Nojo and other activists, gathered more than 150,000 signatures to emerge as a global outrage. With the online campaign #DontBeSilent, Nojo called for action against Mori on Twitter and other social media platforms.
"Few petitions have got 150,000 signatures before. I thought it was really great. People take this personally too, not seeing this as only Mori's problem," she said in a Zoom interview.
Nojo, who is a 4th-year economics student at Keio University in Tokyo mentioned, "It made me realise that this is a good opportunity to push for gender equality in Japan."
In addition, the young activist started her nonprofit organisation "NO YOUTH NO JAPAN" in 2019, while she was in Denmark. Her time in the foreign land made her realise the domination of older men in Japanese politics.
Speaking of the gender inequality that prevails in Japan, Nojo said, "In Japan, when there's an issue related to gender equality, not many voices are heard." She added that even if some voices try to improve the situation, "they run out steam" and that nothing changes.
Sexist remarks row
After an intense criticism in Japan and abroad for his remarks about women, Tokyo Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori stepped down.
Reportedly, while talking about his tenure as chairman of the Japan Rugby Football Union, Mori said, “Women have a strong sense of rivalry. If one raises her hand to speak, all the others feel the need to speak, too." He further implied that id more women are included as board members, meetings will never get over.
He said that there are about seven women on the organising committee and understands "their place".
Although he apologised for his sexist remarks but to further explain his stand Mori explained that he "doesn't speak to women much".
Kazuyo Katsuma, a prominent author of best-selling books on gender and work-life balance, commented on the 83-year-old former prime minister. She said that Mori would have been just criticized and the issue would have been ended but women raised their voices and made his resignation possible.
On Thursday, the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee replaced the previous leader. Seiko Hashimoto, one of Japan’s two female cabinet ministers, was appointed to ascend the position after Mori resigned last week.