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Poll shows less than 25 per cent of Japanese people support 2021 Olympics

2020 Olympic mascot poster on a train in Tokyo on April 20, 2020 (Photo by PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images)

Only 23.9 per cent of people in Japan support holding the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics next year as scheduled according to a survey.

With one year until the rearranged opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, it was revealed that 36.4 per cent of respondents to a nationwide opinion poll thought that the Summer Games should be postponed again, while 33.7 per cent said they should be cancelled.

The results were revealed following a three-day Kyodo News telephone survey covering 721 randomly selected households with eligible voters and 1,374 mobile phone numbers.

Against the backdrop of a recent surge in Covid-19 cases in Japan, 75.3 per cent of those supporting a further delay in the games or their cancellation, said the virus will not be contained anytime soon.

On the question of what could be done to downsize the games, 44.1 per cent said they should be held without spectators or with limited numbers at each venue, something which the International Olympic Committee has already ruled out.

Yasuhiro Yamashita, the president of the Japanese Olympic Committee, recently said he backed the current plans by Tokyo organisers for a slimmed-down Olympics, saying: “We will not gain support from Japanese citizens unless we simplify the games and focus less on flamboyancy and concentrate more on efficiency.”

Japan is also considering easing travel restrictions for foreign athletes from countries including those subject to its entry restrictions, if they are not infected with Covid-19. The poll found 69.1 per cent are supportive of their participation, while 26.5 per cent are against.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike recently questioned whether the Games can go ahead next year without international agreement on travel and quarantine during the pandemic.