Mendoza: A Japanese trait

Al Mendoza
·2 min read

THERE are basically three kinds of persons.

One would speak first, then think about what he has said. Stupid.

One would think first, then speak about what he has in mind. Practical.

And one who would think and speak simultaneously. Genius.

Where would you fit in?

I cite the three blokes following the brouhaha created last week by Yoshiro Mori, the president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee and a former prime minister of Japan.

His comments deemed derogatory on women virtually raised hell in all of Japan, with many believing Mori could be forced to resign.

Mori’s action is another stain to the already beleaguered Olympics, further putting organizers and the International Olympic Committee on the spot amid the pandemic.

Wasn’t the Tokyo Olympics moved from 2020 to this year for health reasons? And, if the Games succeed in hurdling continuing obstacles, it will blast off on July 23 — with even fans allowed entry into the arenas of battle.

Here’s an AP (Associated Press) dispatch last weekend: “In an online meeting of the Japanese Olympic Committee board of directors, Mori was reported by the daily newspaper Asahi Shimbun saying women talk too much in meetings. His comments have created a storm in Japan where women are grossly under-represented in publics and in board rooms. In an interview with the Japanese newspaper Mainichi... the 83-year-old Mori apologized and suggested he could resign.”

Resign? That’s very Japanese. Just a hint that might dent their reputation and they’d rather quit than cling on to their positions. That’s a Japanese trait as perennial as grass.

They don’t even say they are resigning irrevocably. If they say they’re resigning, they mean it. At times, to save face, they commit suicide.

I commend Mori. After his gaffe, he said: “I had no intention to disrespect women. I believe I must carry out my responsibility, but if calls for my resignation grow, I may have to resign... It was careless of me. I apologize.”

In the said meeting, Mori said: “If we are going to have more women directors... then meetings go on for a long time unless we restrict comments.”

Which of the three persons I mentioned above resembles Mori? Tough.