Japanese tennis superstar Naomi Osaka Saturday slammed “ignorant” remarks from the Tokyo Olympics’ chief organiser after a sexism row that has triggered an angry backlash and calls for his resignation.
Osaka, a leading face of the Games in her home nation, joined growing criticism of former Japanese prime minister Yoshiro Mori, 83, after he complained that women speak for too long in meetings.
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, the world’s top-earning female athlete, emerged as a potent voice on social issues last year when she wore facemasks highlighting victims of racism and police brutality at the US Open.
“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.” Olympic medallists, Japanese sports officials and Games volunteers have lined up to lambast Mori, while Tokyo’s governor said she was left “speechless” by the remarks.—AFP