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Olympics: Poll shows 60% of Japanese want Games cancelled

Olympics: Poll shows 60% of Japanese want Games cancelled

Giant Olympic rings are seen over the sea in Tokyo on Jan 22, 2021. (File photo: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon)

TOKYO: Nearly 60 per cent of people in Japan want the Tokyo Olympics to be cancelled, an opinion poll showed on Monday (May 10), less than three months before the Games are due to begin.

Japan has extended a state of emergency in Tokyo until the end of May and is struggling to contain a surge in COVID-19 cases, raising further questions about whether the Games should go on.

The 2020 Olympics, which were postponed by a year due to the pandemic, are set to open on Jul 23.

The survey, conducted from May 7 to May 9 by the Yomiuri Shimbun daily, showed that 59 per cent wanted the Games cancelled as opposed to 39 per cent who said they should be held. Postponement was not offered as an option.

Of those who said that the Olympics should go ahead, 23 per cent said they should take place without spectators. Foreign spectators have been banned, but a final decision on domestic attendance will be made in June.

READ: IOC vice president says 'safe and successful' Tokyo Games will go ahead

READ: Osaka says risk of staging Olympics must be carefully weighed

Another poll conducted at the weekend by TBS News found that 65 per cent wanted the Games cancelled or postponed again, with 37 per cent voting to scrap the event altogether and 28 per cent calling for another delay.

A similar poll in April conducted by Kyodo news agency found that 70 per cent wanted the Olympics cancelled or postponed.

Top Olympic official John Coates said on Saturday that while Japanese sentiment about the Games "was a concern" he could foresee no scenario under which the sporting extravaganza would not go ahead.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has repeatedly vowed to go ahead with the Olympics despite the spike in COVID-19 cases, but the TBS survey found his support rate at 40 per cent, close to record lows marked earlier this year.

On Sunday, Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka said that even though she has waited her whole life to take part in the Olympics, the risks of holding the Tokyo Games should be carefully discussed.

Source: Reuters/kg

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