Majority of people in Japan oppose holding the Tokyo Olympics this year, poll finds

  • With 10 weeks to go until the games, already postponed for a year due to Covid-19, 80 per cent of people want the games cancelled or postponed again
  • Japan recently expanded a coronavirus state of emergency, as the country battles a fourth wave of infections

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A figure of the Olympic rings as seen in front of Tokyo’s Olympic stadium. A new survey shows that more than 80 per cent of Japanese people are in favour of the Games being cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: DPA

With just under 10 weeks until the Tokyo Olympics, a new poll published Monday showed that more than 80 per cent of people in Japan oppose hosting the virus-postponed games this year.

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

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The weekend survey by the daily newspaper Asahi Shimbun 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.

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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.

Olympic organisers says tough anti-virus measures, including regular testing of athletes and a ban on overseas fans, will keep the Games safe.

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.

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