A new survey has shown that more than 80 per cent of Japanese people oppose hosting the Olympics this year, for which about 10 weeks are left. The Tokyo Games were postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to The Japan Times, the latest survey comes after Japan expanded a state of emergency on Friday amid a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections, which has put pressure on the country’s healthcare system, and medical professionals repeatedly warning about shortages.
The survey found 43 per cent of respondents want the games cancelled and 40 per cent want a further postponement due to the coronavirus situation in the country.
Only 14 per cent support holding the games as scheduled, which was down from 28 per cent recorded in another survey last month.
The survey of 1,527 people showed that if the games do go ahead, 59 per cent respondents said that they want no spectators, 33 per cent backed lower fan numbers and a mere three per cent wanted regular capacity games.
A separate poll by Kyodo News published on Sunday showed that 59.7 per cent of respondents back cancellation, though further postponement was not listed as an option, reported The Japan Times.
The poll found that 87.7 per cent of respondents worry that an influx of athletes and staff members from abroad may spread the virus.
The Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to open on July 23, while the Paralympics is slated to begin on August 24. Tokyo is among nine prefectures currently under a state of emergency that will last until May 31 due to surge in infections.
Meanwhile, due to rising COVID-19 cases, more patients are dying at home due to the difficulty of finding available hospital beds, with the situation worsened by the spread of the new variants and the slow process of inoculation, The Japan Times reported.
The government is trying to speed up the pace of its inoculation campaign, but it has administered at least one shot to just around three per cent of the country’s entire population of 126 million, lagging far behind the world average at roughly nine per cent, according to a University of Oxford tally.
Almost half of Japan’s 47 prefectures have reached Stage 4, the worst level on the government’s four-point scale, for the volume of weekly infection cases per 100,000 people, Kyodo News reported.