Yoshiro Mori, the president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee, said Thursday that a decision about the number of spectators at this summer's games and whether to allow overseas fans should "wait until the last minute."

Speaking on a program aired by Japanese broadcaster BS Fuji, Mori said it was important to carefully assess the state of the coronavirus infections before making a decision about spectator limits. He advocated a later time frame than the government and the organizing committee, which have been looking at a March-to-April decision.

"I think around May would also work," Mori said, while emphasizing that the issue is not a simple one. "Although we have to handle it so as to avoid international difficulties."

Mori himself sparked a public outcry at home and abroad a day earlier when he said women talk too much and tend to make meetings "drag on," when complaining about the Japanese Olympic Committee's push for gender diversity on its board of directors.

He apologized for and retracted the remarks on Thursday.

"It wasn't my intention for this to grow into a big thing. I thought it best to withdraw it," Mori said.