MORE than 80 percent of Japanese polled oppose hosting the viruspostponed Olympics this year. A new survey showed yesterday shows underlining public antipathy less than 10 weeks before the Tokyo Games. The latest downbeat poll comes after Japan expanded a coronavirus state of emergency Friday as the nation battles the fourth wave of infections.
The surge in cases has reportedly put pressure on the country’s healthcare system, with medical professionals repeatedly warning about shortages and burnout. The weekend poll by the Asahi Shimbun daily found 43 percent of respondents want the 2020 Games canceled, with 40 percent wanting a further postponement. Those figures are up from the 35 percent who backed cancellation in a survey by the paper a month ago and the 34 percent who wanted a further delay.
“I am one of those in the 80 percent. I think the Olympics should be postponed. Is it that difficult to postpone it?” passer-by Sumiko Usui, 74, told AFP in Tokyo. Takahiro Yoshida, 53, also expressed doubts over the event. “In my honest opinion, it will be difficult to hold the Games… Athletes from overseas must be worried as well because Japan’s coronavirus situation is bad.”
Only 14 percent support holding the Games this summer as scheduled, down from 28 percent, according to the Asahi poll of 1,527 replies from 3,191 telephone calls. If the Games go ahead, 59 percent of respondents said they want no spectators, with a third backing lower fan numbers and only three percent regular-capacity Games. For months, polling has found a majority in Japan oppose holding the Games this summer.
A separate poll by Kyodo News published Sunday showed 59.7 percent back cancellation, though further postponement was not listed as an option. Olympic organizers say tough anti-virus measures, including regular testing of athletes and a ban on overseas fans, will keep the Games safe. But the Kyodo poll found 87.7 percent of respondents worry that an influx of athletes and staff members from abroad may spread the virus.
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