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26% of people in Japan want to buy tickets to 2020 Tokyo Games: survey

TOKYO -- Some 26% of respondents in Japan to a weekend Mainichi Shimbun survey said they want to purchase tickets to the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, while 58% said they don't.

The nationwide telephone survey, which was conducted on May 18 and 19, came more than a week after organizers began to accept applications for the online ticket lottery for the 2020 Games from residents of Japan on May 9.

Meanwhile, the survey asked what measure is most needed in reviewing the driver's license system for elderly people amid a series of traffic accidents caused by senior drivers. Some 50% of respondents said an aptitude test at the time of license renewal should be made stricter, while 19% said a mandatory retirement system should be introduced for driver's licensing. Some 9% of respondents said the validity period of licenses should be shortened, while 3% said there is no need to review the current system.

With regard to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's indication earlier this month that he was ready to hold an unconditional meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, signaling a shift from a previous position that such a summit meeting must serve to settle the abdication of Japanese nationals by the North, 41% of respondents said they do not approve of the policy change, while 36% said they do.

The survey also queried about the Northern Territories off the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido, which have been claimed by Japan but effectively controlled by Russia. In the 2019 Diplomatic Blue Book released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a passage in the 2018 edition that "Japan's position is that the Four Northern Islands belong to Japan" disappeared. While the government has explained that its legal position regarding the issue has not changed, 58% of respondents said they are unconvinced by the explanation, well over the 17% who said they had been persuaded.

When asked which party they would vote for in the proportional representation system of this summer's House of Councillors election, 34% of pollees said they would cast their ballots for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), followed by 11% citing the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP), 5% each for Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party), and Komeito, the LDP's junior coalition partner, 3% for the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) and 1% for the Democratic Party for the People (DPFP). However, 32% of respondents did not give answers to the question, suggesting that many voters have apparently yet to decide which party to vote for in the upper house poll.

As for party approval ratings, the LDP topped the list by garnering 31%, followed by the CDP at 8%, Komeito at 5%, Nippon Ishin at 4%, the JCP at 3% and the DPFP at 1%. The effect of the DPFP's recent merger with the Liberal Party remains unknown. Meanwhile, 39% of respondents said they have no party to support.

(Japanese original by Yuri Hirabayashi, Poll Office)

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