The head of the organizing committee overseeing the Olympic Games in Tokyo apologized for the “inappropriate” remarks, following calls for him to resign.
The 83-year-old withdrew his remarks saying he had no plans to quit.
Morey was quoted earlier as saying that women talk a lot and that meetings with several directors on the board of directors “take longer”.
Mori made the comments during a Wednesday meeting of the Tokyo Olympic Committee.
The committee’s board of directors now consists of 24 members, including 5 women.
In 2019, the committee responsible for selecting Japanese Olympic participants has set itself the goal of increasing the number of women on the board of directors by about 40 percent.
Mori was quoted as telling the Asashi Shimbun: “If we double the number of members of the board of directors, we must make sure that the time available to them is restricted in some way, because they find it difficult to finish their conversation, which is annoying.”
He added, “We have about seven women in the organizing committee, but everyone understands their situation.”
Mori, who served as Japan’s prime minister from 2000-2001, is known for a host of lapses and non-diplomatic statements that he made while he was prime minister.
The recent comments sparked outrage on social media, with the hashtag #Moriresign spread on Twitter.
“Shame on you. It is time to go,” read one comment, while another user urged athletes to boycott the Tokyo Olympics if Mori keeps his position.
Mori told Japan’s Mainichi newspaper that members of his family had also harshly criticized him.
He said, “Last night, my wife harshly reprimanded me,” adding that she told him, “I said something bad again, right? I will have to suffer again because you raised the hostility of women.”
The newspaper quoted him as saying, “This morning my daughter and granddaughter scolded me alike.”
At a press conference, Thursday, in response to a question about the basis for his claim that women talk a lot, said, “I don’t talk to women much lately, so I don’t know.”
The Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee – which consists of 36 members of its executive board – was tasked with “ensuring the organization of the Olympic and Paralympic Games”, which has been postponed for a year due to the outbreak of the Corona virus.
Committee members come from various organizations, including the Olympic Games Committee and the Japanese Paralympic Committee, as well as the Japanese government.