An opinion poll has revealed that 60 per cent of Japanese want the Olympics cancelled – just three months before the games are meant to begin.
Japan is struggling to contain a surge of Covid-19 cases and has recently extended the state of emergency measures in Tokyo until the end of May.
The survey, conducted from May 7-9 by the Yomiuri Shimbun daily, showed that 59 per cent want the games cancelled, with only 39 per cent saying they should go ahead. Postponement was never given as an option.
Other polls echo the public’s disquiet. A poll conducted by TBS News over the weekend found that 65 per cent wanted the Olympics cancelled or postponed, with 37 per cent calling for cancellation and 28 per cent looking to delay the games once more – they have already been delayed by a year.
Another petition to cancel the games has been signed by over 300,000 people in just five days.
One Olympic official, John Coates, admitted that while public sentiment was a concern he could imagine no scenario under which the games would not go ahead.
Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said in a parliamentary committee meeting today that he has “never put Olympics first.”
“My priority has been to protect the lives and health of the Japanese population. We must first prevent the spread of the virus,” he added.
IOC president Thomas Bach was meant to visit Japan this week but his visit has been delayed until June, with Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto admitting that it would be “difficult” for Bach to visit while Japan is in a state of emergency.
The Games are set to open on July 23 and run until Aug 8 but without fans.