Japan Polls Show Weaker Public Opposition Toward Olympic Games
(Bloomberg) -- More evidence emerged that the Japanese public’s opposition to next month’s Tokyo Olympics is losing steam, according to a series of media polls published roughly one month before the opening ceremony.
A survey by broadcaster Fuji Television carried out June 19 to 20 found 30.5% of respondents said the event should be canceled, compared with 56.6% the previous month. About 35.3% said the competition should be held without spectators, while 33.1% said a limited number of people should be admitted to the venues.
A sense of inevitability over the games has set in since Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga gained the support of U.S. President Joe Biden and other Group of Seven leaders earlier this month. He has been pushing ahead with planning for the global sports spectacle, already delayed by a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Teams have begun to arrive in Japan from overseas and the athletes’ village was unveiled over the weekend.
Unease over the health risks of an unprecedented pandemic Olympics nevertheless remains widespread, with only 7% of the population fully immunized, even though the inoculation drive is speeding up. Suga needs the event to go smoothly as he heads into a ruling party leadership election in September, and is due to hold a general election by the following month.
A separate poll by TV Asahi from the weekend found about two-thirds of respondents didn’t think the government’s pledge of a “safe and secure” games would be fulfilled. The Asahi survey showed 37% of respondents saying that the Olympics should be canceled, compared with 30% who said it should go ahead.
A third poll by Kyodo News carried out over the same period found 86.7% of respondents saying they were concerned about another surge in virus cases resulting from the Olympics.
Organizers and the local and national governments are set to reach a decision Monday on how many fans will be allowed to attend the events in person. A group of health experts led by the government’s top Covid-19 adviser, Shigeru Omi, said on Friday that it would be preferable to hold the Olympics without spectators to reduce the risk of spreading infections during what is usually a busy time of the year for travel.
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