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New poll finds half of Japanese back Olympics this summer

A red traffic light lights up on a street near the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building displaying a banner of Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games in Tokyo, May 31, 2021. (Photo: AFP)
A red traffic light lights up on a street near the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building displaying a banner of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games in Tokyo, May 31, 2021. (Photo: AFP)
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TOKYO — Half of Japan’s public favors holding the Tokyo Olympics this summer, a new survey showed Monday, suggesting support for the contentious Games is rising seven weeks before the opening ceremony.اضافة اعلان

The latest poll by the Yomiuri Shimbun daily showed 50 percent of respondents want the Games to be held this summer, with 48 percent in favor of cancellation. Postponement was not given as an option.

National polls have tended to show that a majority of respondents oppose holding the Games this summer, backing either a further postponement or cancellation.  

In early May the same paper found 59 percent of respondents wanted the Games to be scrapped, with only 39 percent calling for them to go ahead as planned.

The latest figures come as COVID-19 infection rates in Japan gradually fall while emergency measures remain in place in several areas including Tokyo.

Vaccinations are also on the rise after a cautious start to the rollout, although just over three percent of the population is fully inoculated so far.

The same poll showed Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s approval rating has fallen from 43 to 37 percent — its lowest since he took office in September last year — while the government’s disapproval rating has gone from 46 to 50 percent since May.

Suga’s government has taken a beating in opinion polls over perceived mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, with authorities imposing multiple virus emergencies this year and facing criticism for not moving quicker on vaccinations.

Olympic organizers are set to take a decision later this month on how many spectators — if any — will be allowed to attend the Games.

Overseas fans have already been barred in an unprecedented move.

The Yomiuri telephonic poll, carried out from June 4-6, found 26 percent of the 1,070 respondents want the Games to proceed without spectators, while 24 percent want a limited number of fans allowed in.

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