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 organizing committee.
A telephone survey over the weekend by Japanese news agency Kyodo showed just over 82% believe the games should be cancelled or postponed again. The results are consistent with polls in recent months showing the strong opposition.
Organizers and the IOC have said the games cannot be postponed again and will be cancelled if they can’t be held.
Only 14.5% in the Kyodo poll said the Olympics should go on as planned and open on July 23.
The poll also showed nearly 60% saying that Yoshiro Mori is “not qualified” to be the president of the organizing 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, apologized for the remarks and said he did not intend to resign. His stance was backed by the Switzerland-based International Olympic Committee and local organizers, which are beset with myriad problems trying to pull off the Olympics in the middle of a pandemic.
Public opposition in Japan is centred 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.
Organizers 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 thousand 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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Stephen Wade, The Associated Press