Over 80% of Japanese oppose Olympics this summer: poll

The latest survey comes after Japan expanded a coronavirus state of emergency on Friday as the nation battles a fourth wave of virus infections.

The 2020 Summer Olympic Games to be hosted by Tokyo have been moved to 2021. Picture: Twitter/@Tokyo2020

Tokyo, Japan - More than 80% of Japanese oppose hosting the virus-postponed Olympics this year, a new poll published on Monday showed, less than 10 weeks before the Tokyo Games.

The latest survey comes after Japan expanded a coronavirus state of emergency on Friday as the nation battles a fourth wave of virus infections.

The surge has put pressure on the country's healthcare system, with medical professionals repeatedly warning about shortages and burnout.

The weekend survey by the Asahi Shimbun daily found 43% of respondents want the 2020 Games cancelled, and 40% want a further postponement.

Those figures are up from 35% who backed cancellation in a survey by the paper a month ago, and 34% who wanted a further delay.

Only 14% support holding the Games this summer as scheduled, down from 28%, according to the poll of 1,527 replies from 3,191 telephone calls.

If the Games do go ahead, 59% of respondents said they want no spectators, with 33% backing lower fan numbers and 3% a regular capacity Games.

For months, polling has found a majority in Japan oppose holding the Games this summer.

A separate poll by Kyodo News published on Sunday showed 59.7% back cancellation, though further postponement was not listed as an option.

Olympic organisers says tough anti-virus measures, including regular testing of athletes and a ban on overseas fans, will keep the Games safe.

But the Kyodo poll found 87.7% of respondents worry that an influx of athletes and staff members from abroad may spread the virus.

Asked about the polls, government spokesman Katsunobu Kato said the government would "make efforts so that the Japanese people understand the Tokyo Games will be held in a safe and secure manner".

"We need to give explanations on details of the concrete (coronavirus) measures," he said, insisting that the Games would not put further pressure on medical services.

Japan has seen a smaller virus outbreak than many countries, with fewer than 11,500 deaths so far. But the government has come under pressure for a comparatively slow vaccine rollout.

The Kyodo poll found 85% of respondents considered the rollout slow, with 71.5% unhappy with the government's handling of the pandemic.

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