Monday, May 17

Your Friday Briefing – The New York Times

Seiko Hashimoto, one of Japan’s two female cabinet ministers, is the new head of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee.

Her appointment was in response to intense criticism following the resignation of Yoshiro Mori, who stepped down after saying that women talked too much in meetings. The man the committee had initially planned to turn to next — Mr. Mori’s handpicked choice — is an 84-year-old former leader of Japanese soccer.

Ms. Hashimoto, 56, an Olympic medalist in speedskating, said her first priority would be to protect against the coronavirus at the Summer Games so that “both the Japanese people and people from abroad will think that the Tokyo Games are safe and secure.”

Bigger picture: The shift reflected the potent voice that Japanese people, especially women, have found on social media, and many saw it as an achievement in mobilizing young activists. Others dismissed it as a cosmetic decision that was unlikely to empower women.

Quotable: “In the past, he would have been just criticized, and then the issue would have ended,” said Kazuyo Katsuma, a businesswoman and author of best-selling books on gender and work-life balance.

Before the pandemic, I normally called chefs after I’d written a review of their restaurant but before it was published, to check facts. The chefs usually sounded as if I were calling with the results of a lab test.

The conversations I had last spring were different. They talked about going bankrupt, they talked about crying and not wanting to get out of bed. What did they have left to lose by talking to me?

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