• Kyodo

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Around 86% of people in Japan are concerned about a rebound in COVID-19 cases if the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics are staged this summer, a Kyodo News poll showed Sunday.

The two-day nationwide survey conducted from Saturday found that 40.3% believe the Summer Games should be held without spectators and 30.8% think they should be canceled.

The results demonstrate the scale of the public's doubts about holding a major global event during a pandemic, around a month before the opening of the Olympics, with 68% also viewing the Japanese government's vaccine rollout as slow.

Asked about the fate of the Olympics and Paralympics if a COVID-19 state of emergency is declared again in Tokyo and elsewhere after the games begin, 55.7% said they should continue with the implementation of measures such as barring spectators and 35.4% said they should be canceled at that point.

The telephone survey covering about 2,000 people found that 50.8% believe the government's decision last week to end the latest state of emergency in Tokyo, Hokkaido, Osaka and six other prefectures on Sunday was too early.

The capital and six of the areas will shift to a quasi-state of emergency until July 11. The number of new daily coronavirus cases across Japan has fallen to around 1,500 recently, down from more than 7,000 at the peak of a fourth wave of infections in early to mid-May, while the country's vaccine rollout has gradually picked up pace.

In the poll, the approval rating for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's Cabinet rose to 44.0%, compared with 41.1% in mid-May.

The disapproval rating declined to 42.2% from 47.3%, which was the highest since the Cabinet was formed in September.

Still, 59.9% said they do not support the government's response to the coronavirus pandemic, while 35.8% said they do.

Starting from Monday, a number of Japanese companies and universities will begin COVID-19 vaccinations for their employees and students.

Japan's vaccination rollout started with health care workers in February and expanded to people age 65 and older in April.

The survey, covering 673 randomly selected households with eligible voters and 1,357 mobile phone numbers, obtained responses from 548 and 547 people, respectively.

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