Tokyo: Almost 40 percent of people in Japan oppose holding the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in the country’s capital of Tokyo this year, according to a poll published by the Kyodo news agency on Sunday.
The media outlet conducted a two-day random sampling survey by phone on Saturday and Sunday.
Per the results, 39.8 percent of respondents said they did not want the games to be held over fears of the coronavirus pandemic. The rest were either undecided or thought it would be better to postpone the games. Slightly over 23 percent of the Japanese are okay with the Olympics being held this summer.
More than 82 percent of respondents said they were concerned about the spread of new COVID-19 variants. According to the poll, 65.6 percent believe that the vaccination in Japan is slow and only 28.9 percent of the citizens said they were content with the way the immunization campaign was going.
A separate poll conducted by the Japan Press Research Institute showed that the majority of respondents from several countries worldwide also disapproved of the holding of the Games in Tokyo in 2021.
“In conditions when the coronavirus pandemic has not yet ended, the sum of responses for the cancellation of the Games and their postponement to a later date was 95.6% in Thailand, 94.7% in South Korea, 82.1% in China, 74.4% in the US, and 70.6% in France. In a similar survey in Japan, 71.9% of respondents supported the cancellation or postponement,” the institute said in a statement.
According to the poll, the numbers of those who spoke in favor of holding the Games this summer stood at 24.5 percent in the US, 25.8 percent in France, 17.9 percent in China, 3 percent in South Korea, and 4.4 percent in Thailand. The survey for Japan showed 26.1 percent of the respondents supported the Games as scheduled.
The poll was conducted from December-January among 992 US citizens, 1,006 French nationals, and 1,000 people each from China, Thailand, and South Korea either in person or by phone.
On Saturday, organizers of the Tokyo Olympics announced that foreign spectators would not be allowed to the Games due to the pandemic, with 630,000 tickets to be refunded. According to the estimates of the Japanese think tanks, hosting the Games without foreign spectators would result in an almost 150 billion yen ($1.4 billion) economic loss for the country.
The Games in Tokyo were initially to be held in 2020 but were postponed to July-August 2021.