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52% don't think vaccination program going well in Japan: Mainichi poll

A woman receives a COVID-19 vaccination at a mass vaccination center operated by the Self-Defense Forces, after the target age for inoculations was lowered, at the Otemachi joint government building No. 3 in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on June 17, 2021. (Mainichi/Yohei Koide)

TOKYO -- Some 52% of respondents to a nationwide survey don't think that Japan's vaccination program for the coronavirus is proceeding smoothly, while only 27% believe it is and 21% cannot say either way.

    The poll was conducted on June 19 by the Mainichi Shimbun and the Social Survey Research Center. In an earlier survey conducted on April 18, 75% of respondents thought Japan's vaccination process was "slow," compared to 17% who "didn't think it was lagging," and 8% who were "undecided."

    A total of 57% said they would "get vaccinated immediately" if they became eligible, down 6 percentage points from the previous survey on May 22. The number of respondents who "have already received the vaccination" increased to 12%, up 9 points from the earlier survey, as vaccinations for the elderly aged 65 and over have been implemented nationwide, and some companies have started inoculating their employees.

    Meanwhile, 24% said they would take a "wait and see" approach, down from 28% previously, 4% said they would "not receive the vaccination," a slight decline from 6% earlier, and 1% said they "did not know," the same figure as the previous poll.

    When asked what they expect the situation surrounding coronavirus infections in Japan would be like in the future, 53% of respondents answered "it will spread again," much higher than the 27% who answered "it will be contained." The percentage that answered "I don't know" was 20%. Many people in Japan seem to think that another resurgence is inevitable even if the fourth wave of infections subsides, partly because it will take time for vaccinations to proceed.

    For more than a year, people have been asked to refrain from going out and other activities to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. When asked if they were feeling stressed by the self-restraint, 29% said they were "feeling that way strongly," while 52% said they were "feeling that way but not strongly." In total, more than 80% of the respondents said they were feeling some kind of stress from the pandemic, while 18% said they "were not."

    To a question asking whether they thought the House of Representatives should be dissolved and a general election held before the members' term officially ends on Oct. 21, 62% of respondents said the prime minister "should wait for the completion of the term" before dissolving the chamber, far more than the 20% who said that the lower house "should be dissolved before the term ends." A total of 17% answered "I don't know."

    In addition, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's term as president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party expires at the end of September. As for how long they would like him to continue as prime minister, only 15% of respondents said they wanted him to "do the job for as long as possible," compared to 13% in the previous poll; 46% said they wanted him to "serve out his term as party president," as opposed to 47% in the last survey; and 39% said they wanted him to "quit as soon as possible," a slight drop from the earlier 40%.

    (Japanese original by Nanae Ito, Political News Department)

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