Tokyo Olympics: A third of Japanese want Summer Games cancelled, reveals poll

A third of Japanese residents want the Tokyo Olympics to be scrapped amid fears that an influx of foreign arrivals may cause a further spike in COVID-19 cases, a poll by public broadcaster NHK showed on Tuesday.

As Japan grapples with a third wave of Covid-19 infections, the NHK poll, conducted from Dec. 11-13, showed 32% of respondents wanted the Summer Games to be cancelled entirely.   -  REUTERS

A third of Japanese residents want the Tokyo Olympics to be scrapped amid fears that an influx of foreign arrivals may cause a further spike in COVID-19 cases, a poll by public broadcaster NHK showed on Tuesday.

The Japanese government and International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided in March to postpone the 2020 Olympics by a year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, with the global showpiece now slated to take place from July 23-Aug. 8.

But as Japan grapples with a third wave of infections, the NHK poll, conducted from Dec. 11-13, showed 32% of respondents wanted the Summer Games to be cancelled entirely.

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Only 27% said they should go ahead as scheduled while 31% favoured another delay.

According to an NHK poll in October, 40% said the Olympics should be held as planned with only 23% favouring cancellation and 25% preferring further postponement.

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While Japan has avoided the vast number of infections and deaths seen in many other countries across the world, a recent resurgence in cases has forced the government to re-introduce steps such as requesting bars and restaurants to close early.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Monday suspended a much-criticised travel subsidy programme to help contain mounting case numbers as his approval rating plummets over his handling of the pandemic.