More than 80 percent of people in Japan oppose holding the Tokyo Olympics this summer, a poll has revealed.
The survey run by The Asahi Shimbun newspaper last weekend found that 83 per cent of people believed the Olympics should be postponed or scrapped – 43 per cent said the Games should be cancelled, while 40 per cent said they should be delayed again.
Both figures are an increase from 35 per cent and 34 per cent respectively at the time of the last poll, in April. Meanwhile only 14 per cent of voters said the Tokyo Olympics should go ahead this summer, down nearly a third from the last survey.
Although Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has said it is possible for the Olympics to go ahead safely, 73 per cent of Asahi Shimbun’s respondents said they were not convinced. Meanwhile a separate poll by Kyodo News found nearly 60 per cent of people in Japan believe the Olympics should be cancelled.
Japan is in the grip of a fourth coronavirus wave. Although states of emergency have been declared in a number of local areas, some in the country are calling for a nationwide state of emergency to counter the rapid rise in cases. In Osaka Prefecture, hospitals are under intense pressure, with 82.5 per cent of beds for coronavirus patients being occupied, according to Japan Times.
Japan’s overall virus outbreak has been smaller than other countries, but only roughly 3 per cent of the country’s 126 million people have been vaccinated. The Kyodo poll found that 85 per cent considered Japan’s vaccination drive slow, while 71.5 per cent were dissatisfied with the government’s handling of the pandemic – more than at any stage of the pandemic so far.
Organisers of the Games say strict restrictions, including a ban on overseas spectators, will limit the virus, making the Olympics safe. But 87.7 per cent of respondents in the Kyodo poll said they were concerned that the arrival of athletes and staff from abroad would still spread the virus.
The decision to cancel the Olympics rests entirely with the International Olympic Committee, who, in a press conference last week, said it was ‘moving fully ahead’. Mark Adams, an IOC spokesperson, sought to reassure the public: ‘In terms of Japan and Tokyo, we understand the caution of people and we are fully in solidarity with them,’ he said.
He added: ‘We understand that these are tough times. We understand that people are very cautious. But the test events and the playbooks should give the Japanese people confidence that these Games can be held in a very safe and secure way.’
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