The head of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee apologized on Thursday for making sexist remarks about women.
There have been calls for Yoshiro Mori to step down after he said that female board members talked too much.
The 83 year old made the comments at a Japanese Olympic Committee meeting this week, according to a report in the Asahi Shinbun newspaper.
The committee board currently has 24 members, five of whom are women.
It has set itself a target of increasing the number of female board directors to 40%.
Mori reportedly said, quote, "If we increase the number of female board members, we have to make sure their speaking time is restricted somewhat. They have difficulty finishing, which is annoying."
In a hastily called press conference on Thursday, the former Japanese prime minister said his comments were wrong, but he remained defiant about his position:
"In regards to the comment I made at the Japanese Olympic Committee board of trustees meeting, I recognize it was an inappropriate comment against the Olympics and Paralympics spirit. I regret it deeply."
"I have no intention to resign. I have been supportive and working hard for seven years (for the Tokyo Games). I am not thinking of resigning."
The saga is likely to further alienate a Japanese public that's already wary about hosting the games during the health crisis.
A recent poll showed that 80% of the public thought it shouldn't go ahead as scheduled in July.