Most Japanese oppose 2021 Olympics: polls

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Tokyo (AFP)

Majority of Japanese oppose postponed coronavirus Tokyo 2020 Olympics next year, in favor of further delay or outright cancellation of massive event, new poll has shown Tuesday.

The new data shows that public sentiment has changed little since the summer, when surveys in Japan also revealed only a minority of support projects to host the Games next year, despite the imminent arrival of new vaccines.

A poll released Tuesday by the national broadcaster NHK found that only 27% of respondents support hosting the Games next year, 32% supporting the cancellation and 31% supporting a further postponement.

The remaining respondents said they were unsure or gave no response.

Olympic organizers and Japanese officials have ruled out any further postponement of the Games, which are the first in history to be postponed to peacetime.

They insisted that Tokyo 2020 can take place even if the pandemic is not under control by the new opening date of July 23, 2021.

But the Japanese public does not seem convinced.

A poll released Monday by the Jiji News Agency also found that 21% were in favor of a cancellation and nearly 30% a further delay.

And a Kyodo News Agency poll released on December 6 also found that a total of 61.2% were opposed to holding the Games next year.

The figure comes with just over seven months before the scheduled opening of the Games postponed.

The start of vaccination campaigns in some parts of the world has boosted the confidence of organizers that the Games can take place, although innoculation will not be mandatory for athletes or spectators.

But even as vaccines are being rolled out, new waves of the virus are breaking through in many places, including Japan, which has seen a comparatively low toll from the outbreak, recording fewer than 2,600 deaths so far. .

Postponing the Games and devising coronavirus countermeasures has proven to be a logistical nightmare for organizers and comes at a steep price.

The delay and health measures will add at least an additional $ 2.4 billion to the current budget of $ 13 billion for the Games.

Organizers are due to release an updated budget later this month, but their cost figures have been hotly contested, with an audit report last year estimating the national government spent nearly 10 times its initial budget between 2013-2018.

The organizers replied that the estimate included elements not directly related to the Games.

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