Two-thirds of Japanese doubt pandemic Olympics can be safe, says poll


Tokyo 2020 Olympics – People protest against the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games – Tokyo, Japan – July 18, 2021 A protester wearing a protective face mask during a rally near Akasaka State Guest where International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach attends a welcome ceremony hosted by the Japanese government REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

July 19, 2021

TOKYO (Reuters) – Two-thirds of people in Japan do not believe the country can host a safe and secure Olympics amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey published by the Asahi newspaper just four days before the opening ceremony in Tokyo.

In the poll, 68% of respondents expressed doubt about the ability of Olympic organisers to control coronavirus infections, with 55% saying they were opposed to the Games going ahead.

Three-quarters of the 1,444 people in the telephone survey said they agreed with a decision to ban spectators from events.

As COVID-19 infections rise in Tokyo, forcing the government into a fourth state of emergency, public concern has grown about hosting an event that is bringing tens of thousands of overseas athletes, officials and journalists into Japan’s capital.

Games officials on Sunday reported the first COVID-19 case among competitors in the athletes’ village in Tokyo, bringing the total number of cases connected to the Olympics to at least 10.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach has said he hopes the Japanese public will warm to the Games once competition begins and as Japanese athletes begin winning medals.

(Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Michael Perry)

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