Source: The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games
Nearly 60% of people in Japan want the Tokyo Summer Olympics to be canceled, according to new opinion poll.
Only 39% said they felt the games – which were postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic – should open as planned this year on July 23, a survey released by Japanese newspaper The Yomiuri Shimbun found.
Of those who said the Olympics should proceed, 23% said spectators should not be allowed and 16% said there should be a limit on the number of spectators, according to the nationwide poll conducted between May 7 and 9.
Further postponement – an option ruled out by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) – was not offered as a choice in the poll.
Japan recently extended a state of emergency in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo until the end of May as the areas struggle to contain a surge in new cases.
In those four prefectures, an average of 64% favored cancelation. In host city Tokyo, 61% of respondents wanted the Games canceled, which highlighted the pandemic’s impact in Japan’s capital, according to the poll.
Japan has recorded more than 640,000 coronavirus cases and more than 10,800 deaths – the highest in east Asia. On Saturday, it reported more than 7,000 infections – the highest since January, The Guardian reported.
Japan’s vaccination rate is one of the lowest among wealthy nations, Reuters noted.
Less than 2% of Japan’s 126 million residents have been vaccinated since the country’s vaccination rollout began in mid-February.
Both the IOC and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga have repeatedly vowed to move forward with the Olympics and said the Games will go on in a safe and secure manner.
The IOC’s vice president, John Coates, said that while Japanese sentiment about the Games “was a concern,” he could foresee no scenario under which the event would not go ahead, Reuters reported.
On Monday, Prime Minister Suga insisted that the government had not prioritized the Olympics over public health. When asked in a parliamentary committee meeting whether the Games will continue even if infections spike, Suga replied, “I’ve never put the Olympics first.”
He added: “My priority has been to protect the lives and health of the Japanese population. We must first prevent the spread of the virus.”
The IOC has already banned spectators from abroad and is expected to make a final decision on domestic attendance in June.
Portions of the Olympic Torch Relay were also moved off public roads and into parks without spectators following the rise in cases.
A visit by IOC officials scheduled for this month has been canceled “in light of the extension of the state of emergency” and “various circumstances,” Tokyo 2020 organizers told Reuters.
Source: Equities News