The much-awaited Tokyo Olympics are once again under the scare of COVID-19. With the mega-tournament just around 2 months away, there is no guarantee if the competition will go ahead as the host country faces challenges in dealing with the fourth wave of the virus.
In a recent development, a poll was conducted to take public opinion on the Olympics. Results suggest that 80% of the Japanese people do not want the games to be held amid the virus outbreak. Local criticism stems from the fact that Japan’s healthcare system is still under strain due to the pandemic. With the Olympics coming up, a large amount of medical professionals’ time will be redirected towards this sporting event.
With less than 11,500 deaths so far, Japan has had a smaller virus outbreak than many other countries. However, the government has been mocked for its late vaccination rollout. According to the Kyodo survey, 85% of respondents thought the rollout was sluggish, and 71.5% were dissatisfied with the government’s handling of the pandemic.
On the other hand, according to the Asahi Shimbun poll, 43% of voters wanted the Olympics to be cancelled. In comparison, 40% wanted them to be delayed again. As per the 1,527 responses from 3,191 phone calls, just 14% favoured on hosting the games this summer as planned, down from 28% in the previous poll.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, on the other side, seem to yield to public criticism for the first time earlier this week, saying “that the government would not put the Olympics first”. Eventually, the decision would lie with the IOC.