Tokyo Olympics 2020: Japanese public continues to oppose Games following Yoshiro Mori's derogatory remarks

A telephone survey over the weekend by Japanese news agency Kyodo showed just over 82 percent believe the games should be canceled or postponed again. The results are consistent with polls in recent months showing the strong opposition.

The Associated Press February 08, 2021 09:54:53 IST
Tokyo Olympics 2020: Japanese public continues to oppose Games following Yoshiro Mori's derogatory remarks

Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori takes off his protective face mask as he attends a news conference in Tokyo. AP

Tokyo: Public opposition remains strong in Japan to holding the postponed Tokyo Olympics following derogatory remarks about women made last week by the head of the local organising committee.

A telephone survey over the weekend by Japanese news agency Kyodo showed just over 82 percent believe the games should be canceled or postponed again. The results are consistent with polls in recent months showing the strong opposition.

Organisers and the IOC have said the games cannot be postponed again and will be canceled if they can't be held.

Only 14.5 percent in the Kyodo poll said the Olympics should go on as planned and open on 23 July.

The poll also showed nearly 60 percent saying that Yoshiro Mori is “not qualified” to be the president of the organising committee.

Mori last week suggested women talk too much in meetings. He immediately received widespread condemnation, and his remarks also generated an on-line petition that questioned his fitness for the job.

It stopped short of demanding he resign.

The 83-year-old Mori, a former prime minister, apologised for the remarks and said he did not intend to resign. His stance was backed by the Switzerland-based International Olympic Committee (IOC) and local organisers, which are beset with myriad problems trying to pull off the Olympics in the middle of a pandemic.

Public opposition in Japan is centered on the pandemic, which Japan has handled better than many countries, and the costs.

The official cost of preparing the Olympics is $15.4 billion, but several government audits have said the costs are at least $25 billion.

Organisers and the IOC last week began releasing so-called “Playbooks" that spell out very strict guidelines that detail how 15,400 Olympics and Paralympic athletes — and tens of thousands of broadcasters, media, sponsors and others — will enter Japan.

The rule books will be updated in April and June with more details and are initially vague in many areas. However, they acknowledge the risks involved.

“Despite all care taken, we draw to your attention that risks and impacts may not be fully eliminated and that you agree to attend the Olympic and Paralympic Games at your own risk,”the Playbook document says “We trust that these measures are proportionate to mitigate the above-mentioned risks and impacts and we fully count on your support to comply with them.”

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