TOKYO (Reuters) – A third of Japanese residents want the Tokyo Olympics to be scrapped amid fears that an influx of foreign arrivals may cause a further spike in COVID-19 cases, a poll by public broadcaster NHK showed on Tuesday.
The Japanese government and International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided in March to postpone the 2020 Olympics by a year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, with the global showpiece now slated to take place from July 23-Aug. 8.
But as Japan grapples with a third wave of infections, the NHK poll, conducted from Dec. 11-13, showed 32% of respondents wanted the Summer Games to be cancelled entirely.
Only 27% said they should go ahead as scheduled while 31% favoured another delay.
According to an NHK poll in October, 40% said the Olympics should be held as planned with only 23% favouring cancellation and 25% preferring further postponement.
While Japan has avoided the vast number of infections and deaths seen in many other countries across the world, a recent resurgence in cases has forced the government to re-introduce steps such as requesting bars and restaurants to close early.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Monday suspended a much-criticised travel subsidy programme to help contain mounting case numbers as his approval rating plummets over his handling of the pandemic.
(Reporting by Chris Gallagher; Editing by Peter Rutherford)