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About 80% favor canceling, postponing Tokyo Olympics in summer: Kyodo poll

National Stadium (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Around 80 percent of people in Japan believe the postponed Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, planned for the summer, should be canceled or rescheduled, a Kyodo News survey showed Sunday, with the novel coronavirus pandemic continuing to cast a cloud over the sporting event.

    The weekend telephone survey was conducted as Japan is struggling with a resurgence of infections that have increased the strain on the country's medical system.

    In the poll, 35.3 percent called for the cancellation of the Tokyo Games, while 44.8 percent said the games should be put off again. The games were slated to take place last year but were rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    The approval rate for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga stood at 41.3 percent, down 9 percentage points from the previous survey in December, while the disapproval rate was 42.8 percent, four months after the start of the Suga administration.

    The most commonly cited reason for disapproval was Suga's "lack of leadership" over the pandemic at 41.2 percent.

    The survey found 68.3 percent were dissatisfied with the coronavirus measures implemented by the government, while 24.9 percent said the government had dealt with the pandemic appropriately.

    A monthlong state of emergency declared over the pandemic on Thursday, covering Tokyo and the adjacent prefectures of Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama, was viewed as "too late" by 79.2 percent, while nearly 78 percent said it needed to be expanded to other areas.

    The poll found 39.8 percent viewed the length of the emergency, which will be in place until Feb. 7, as "adequate," while 46.6 percent said the one-month time frame was "too short."

    Under the emergency declaration, eateries in the area have been asked to shorten opening hours.

    Suga has said the government will submit a revision to the special measures law soon making it possible to punish businesses that refuse to comply with its requests.

    In the survey, 48.7 percent opposed such punishment, while 42.7 percent were supportive.

    The government previously declared a state of emergency covering Tokyo and six other prefectures in early April last year and expanded it to the country's 47 prefectures later that month. It was lifted in steps in May as coronavirus cases subsided.

    The daily tally of infections in Japan on Saturday topped 7,000 for the third day in a row.

    The survey also found that 78.1 percent were dissatisfied with how Suga's predecessor Shinzo Abe handled an allegation that his camp illegally used political funds to cover the costs of dinner functions for his supporters.

    In December last year, a Tokyo court fined one of Abe's state-paid secretaries for failing to keep legally required financial records related to the dinner functions.

    The former prime minister, who had repeatedly denied any wrongdoing since the scandal came to light in November 2019, apologized for making what turned out to be false statements to parliament.

    The survey, covering 715 randomly selected households with eligible voters and 1,274 mobile phone numbers, yielded responses from 521 and 520 people, respectively.

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