National

Not even a quarter of Japan is looking forward to holding Olympics

Kyodo

Only 23.9 percent of people in Japan are in favor of holding the postponed Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics next summer as scheduled and over half are dissatisfied with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s response to the novel coronavirus, a Kyodo News survey showed Sunday.

With the world engulfed by the pandemic for months, 36.4 percent of respondents to the nationwide opinion poll think the Summer Games should be postponed again and 33.7 percent say they should be canceled.

With about a year until the Olympics begin, 75.3 percent of those backing either another delay or a cancellation believe the virus cannot be contained anytime soon.

That was followed by 12.7 percent who said the government should put priority on its fight against the spread of the virus in Japan and 5.9 percent citing rising costs to host the sporting extravaganza.

The Tokyo Games’ organizers and the International Olympic Committee have agreed to simplify the rescheduled event, now due to kick off July 23 next year, to ensure safety from the virus.

As for what could be done to downsize the games, 44.1 percent said they should be held without spectators or with limited numbers at each venue.

The three-day telephone survey from Friday found 59.1 percent are discontent with the government’s handling of the pandemic.

While the approval rate for Abe’s Cabinet stood at 38.8 percent, compared with 36.7 percent about a month ago, it found that 66.4 percent think the government should declare another state of emergency in response to a recent surge in infections in Tokyo and elsewhere.

The disapproval rate came to 48.5 percent, down 1.2 points from the previous survey.

Since the government fully lifted the nationwide state of emergency on May 25, Tokyo and other urban areas, including the surrounding prefectures and the Kansai region, have marked single-day records for new infections.

Despite the resurgence of the pandemic in Tokyo, which reported a single-day record of 293 cases of the virus on Friday, and elsewhere in Japan, Abe’s administration has decided to go ahead with the launch on Wednesday of a subsidy program aimed at spurring domestic travel.

The survey found that 62.7 percent feel the Go To Travel campaign should be postponed.

While the government excluded Tokyo from the program at the last minute, it showed that 17 percent think other areas seeing rising numbers of infections should have been treated the same way.

Asked about the most appropriate time for a general election, 61 percent replied either when the four-year term of House of Representatives members end in October 2021 or near the term’s termination, followed by 16.5 percent saying it should be held by the end of this year.

The survey, covering 721 randomly selected households with eligible voters and 1,374 mobile phone numbers, obtained responses from 508 and 533 people, respectively.

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