Half of the Japanese now in favor of the Tokyo Olympics this summer

The Japanese are still divided over the prospect of hosting the Olympics in Tokyo this summer, but now 50% are in favor of the event, as the local health crisis subsides, according to a poll released on Monday. According to this survey by the Japanese daily Yomiuri, 50% of those questioned said they were in favor of holding the Olympics this summer as planned (23 July-8 August), and 48% on the contrary wanted them to be canceled. Last month, in a similar opinion poll by Yomiuri, only 39% of those polled had declared themselves for the Olympic Games this summer, and 59% against.

The survey published on Monday, carried out by telephone from June 4 to 6 among 1,070 people in Japan, comes as the number of new Covid-19 infections is gradually decreasing in the country. In addition, the vaccination campaign has recently accelerated in the archipelago, even if just over 3% of the national population is fully vaccinated for the time being.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s popularity continues to deteriorate, however: his approval rating fell to 37% in the latest Yomiuri poll, down from 43% previously, the lowest since he took office in September 2020. The opinion Japanese public criticizes Suga and his government for having clumsily managed the coronavirus crisis, which has led to the establishment of repeated state of emergency systems in the country since the beginning of January. The government is also criticized for the very slow start of the vaccination campaign in the country compared to other countries.

The organizers of the Tokyo Olympics have yet to make a decision this month on the number of spectators allowed, after having already given up in March to welcome audiences from abroad because of the pandemic. Still according to the survey of Yomiuri, 26% of those questioned said they wanted the Olympics to take place behind closed doors, and 24% with a limited level.

According to another poll published Monday by the television group Japan News Network, 44% of respondents approved the holding of the Olympics this summer, 31% wanted their cancellation and 24% a further postponement. The organizers have systematically ruled out a further postponement of the Games after that of last year. And last week, Tokyo-2020 president Seiko Hashimoto said she was safe “100%” that they were going to take place.

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