Saturday, August 13, 2022

Poll: Support growing in Japan for this summer’s Tokyo Olympics

TOKYO — Nearly a third of Japanese are now withdrawing from the Olympics, up from just 14 percent last month, a new survey showed on Monday, although most still prefer to be canceled or postponed because of the pandemic.

The poll corroborates other recent polls that suggest Tokyo 2020 protests are softening slightly, just a month before the July 23 opening ceremony.

Support for virus-postponed games rose to 34 percent, according to a survey by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper published on Monday.

However, 32 percent still want games to be canceled altogether and 30 percent want games to be delayed again, down from 43 percent and 40 percent, respectively, in last month’s survey.

Organizers have ruled out postponing the Games again, and the first Olympic athletes have already arrived in Japan.

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The Asahi survey, conducted on June 19 and 20, drew 1,469 responses from people who contacted them at home and on mobile phones.

This comes after several recent surveys, which offered respondents the choice between canceling the Games or holding it – with no postponement option – were found to hold back more than eliminate the event.

The change in sentiment would be welcome news for organisers, who are expected to announce later on Monday how many local fans, if any, will be in the stands for the Games.

After Tokyo’s state of coronavirus emergency ends on Sunday, new restrictions limit spectators at large events to 5,000 people or 50 percent capacity, whichever is smallest.

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The rule is due to come into effect by July 11, after which the cap will be expanded to 10,000 people, or 50 percent capacity.

Local media reports suggest that Olympic organizers will set a 10,000 spectator limit, but the number of spectators for the opening ceremony could rise to 20,000, including dignitaries and sponsors.

Japan has seen a comparatively small virus outbreak, with around 14,500 deaths, despite avoiding harsh lockdowns.

But its vaccine rollout began slowly, with only gaining momentum in recent weeks. Currently about 6.5 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.

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Nation World News Desk
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