Over 80% in Japan oppose Olympics this year: poll

gulf-times.com -- May 18
More than 80% of Japanese polled oppose hosting the virus-postponed Olympics this year, a new survey showed yesterday, 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 a fourth wave of infections.

The surge in cases has 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% of respondents want the 2020 Games cancelled, with 40% wanting a further postponement.

Those figures are up from the 35% who backed cancellation in a survey by the paper a month ago and the 34% who wanted a further delay.

“I am one of those in the 80%. 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,” he said.

Only 14% support holding the Games this summer as scheduled, down from 28%, according to the Asahi poll of 1,527 replies from 3,191 telephone calls.

If the Games go ahead, 59% of respondents said they want no spectators, with a third backing lower fan numbers and only 3% a 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 % back cancellation, though further postponement was not listed as an option.

Olympic organisers 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% of respondents worry that an influx of athletes and staff members from abroad may spread the virus.

Amid mounting public opposition to the games, several dozen protesters rallied in central Tokyo against the Olympics.

- gulf-times.com