A week after Yoshiro Mori, the head of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic organizing committee, resigned in disgrace after complaining that women talk too much at meetings, Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party has propose allowing five female lawmakers to join the party’s all-male board meetings as observers only.
Following criticism that the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s board is too male-dominated, a plan has been put forward to allow five women into the meetings—on the condition that they remain silent for the entire duration.
Toshihiro Nikai, the party’s 82-year-old secretary general, said it’s important for the party’s female members to “look” at the party’s decision-making process, but the female observers won’t be allowed to speak during the meetings. They will, however, be allowed to submit written opinions afterwards.
Opposition lawmakers mocked the idea as a “field trip” for the women.
Belinda Wheaton, a cultural sociologist at the University of Waikato in New Zealand, said: “People will just put women on them as a kind of PR exercise. “I think it’s probably time to be asking questions as to why it is that we feel that men in their 70s or 80s are able to fulfil these roles better versus a man in their 40s or 50s, or a woman.”
Yoshiro Mori, 83, eventually stepped down as the Tokyo Olympics organising committee chief after his comments triggered a worldwide backlash and has since been replaced by by one of only a few prominent female politicians in Japan. Seiko Hashimoto, the country’s former Olympics minister and a seven-time Olympian.