TOKYO - Major Japanese beef bowl firm Yoshinoya Holdings Co said on Tuesday (April 19) it has sacked a managing director who made derogatory comments about getting naive young women "hooked" on its products, saying his conduct was "completely unacceptable."
Masaaki Ito, a managing director at the company - known for its inexpensive bowls of beef on rice - made the remarks at a marketing lecture at Tokyo's Waseda University at the weekend. A company spokesman said he could not confirm Ito's exact words. Ito was not reachable for comment.
Yoshinoya, which in recent years has made efforts to expand the appeal of its dishes to women, said it had stripped Ito of all his positions with the company, effective Monday.
"His extremely unacceptable words and deeds could not be tolerated from the point of view of human rights and gender issues," Yoshinoya said in a statement. It later said it would dock company president Yasutaka Kawamura's pay by 30per cent for a three-month period through June.
Though Japan has taken steps towards gender equality, it remains far behind in many ways and ranked 120th out of 156 nations in women's economic participation and opportunity in the World Economic Forum's 2021 Global Gender Gap index.
The topic was trending on Japanese Twitter, with many posters expressing outrage.
"Let's deconstruct this remark - he showed contempt for women, young people, people from rural areas and his own company's products," one poster wrote. "In short, he pretty much insulted most of his company's customers."
The university has also apologised.