Global Sports

Over 80 per cent of Japanese oppose Olympics this summer

Filed on May 17, 2021
Kenji Utsunomiya, a Japanese lawyer, displaying a campaign poster calling for the cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics. (AFP)

The latest survey comes after Japan expanded a coronavirus state of emergency on Friday

More than 80 per cent of Japanese oppose hosting the virus-postponed Olympics this year, a new poll published on Monday showed, with just under 10 weeks until the Tokyo Games.

The latest survey comes after Japan expanded a coronavirus state of emergency on Friday as the nation battles a fourth wave of virus infections.

The surge has put pressure on the country's healthcare system, with medical professionals repeatedly warning about shortages and burnout.

The weekend survey by the Asahi Shimbun daily found 43 per cent of respondents want the Games cancelled, and 40 per cent want a further postponement.

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

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

If the Games do go ahead, 59 per cent of respondents said they want no spectators, with 33 per cent backing lower fan numbers and three per cent 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 on Sunday showed 59.7 per cent of respondents back cancellation, though further postponement was not listed as an option.

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

Japan has seen a smaller virus outbreak than many countries, with fewer than 11,500 deaths so far. But the government has come under pressure for a comparatively slow vaccine rollout.

The Kyodo poll found 85 per cent of respondents considered the rollout slow, with 71.5 per cent unhappy with the government's handling of the pandemic.

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