TOKYO (Reuters) – Nearly 60% of people in Japan think Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori is unfit for his role as head of the Olympics organising committee, according to a poll conducted by Kyodo News on Sunday.
The 83-year-old Mori, a former Japanese prime minister, said this week that women talked for too long in meetings. He later apologised at a meeting with the Japan Olympic Committee but has refused to resign.
The comments caused a storm on social media at home and abroad, with a petition calling for action against Mori gathering tens of thousands of signatures. Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka said his comments were “ignorant”.
The poll, conducted by Kyodo over the telephone, found that of 1,023 people asked, nearly 60% said Mori was unfit for the position. Only 6.8% of respondents said he was fit for the role.
The Tokyo Olympic Games were postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and rescheduled to take place this year starting on July 23.
Kyodo also reported on Sunday that a female Japan Rugby Union Football board member said Mori’s comments were directed at her.
Yuko Inazawa, who became the first female board member of the JRFU in 2013, said “instinctively I thought he was referring to me”, Kyodo said.
“I think conferences dragged on as I was asking questions from my standpoint as an amateur,” said Inazawa, who is one of five women on the JRFU board.
“But that is absolutely not the same thing as saying women make conferences drag on.”
Mori served as JRFU president for 10 years through 2015 and was appointed honorary chairman until shortly before the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
(Reporting by Jack Tarrant, editing by Ed Osmond)