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The approval rate for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s Cabinet stood at 32.2% in May, the lowest level since its launch in September, a monthly poll showed Friday. Those who said they don’t support the government’s response to the coronavirus crisis rose 11.6 points to 64.6%.

Initially reluctant to call Japan’s third coronavirus state of emergency, Suga was forced into a U-turn after facing a barrage of objections from experts demanding stronger measures, Jiji reports. The miscalculation may only add to the PM’s woes, with his administration still unable to map out a strategy for getting the virus under control in time for the Olympics.

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike speaks with International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach during a meeting in Tokyo in November. | AFP-JIJI
Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike speaks with International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach during a meeting in Tokyo in November. | AFP-JIJI

As the COVID-19 situation remains dire, some ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers are now turning pessimistic about holding the games as scheduled. Their concerns are reportedly shared by some Tokyo Metropolitan Government officials.

With the July 4 Tokyo assembly election looming, speculation is mounting that Gov. Yuriko Koike will include the cancellation of the games as a campaign pledge for Tomin First no Kai, a regional party she created.

Such a move could turn the Tokyo campaign — seen as a two-horse race between Tomin First and the LDP — into a referendum on the Olympics, with Koike reborn as the candidate representing the anti-games majority.

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