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49% back gov't plan to relax COVID restrictions in Japan after vaccinations progress: poll

A street in Shinjuku's Kabukicho district is seen bustling with people even after 8 p.m., in this photo taken in Tokyo on Aug. 11, 2021. (Mainichi/Kota Yoshida)

TOKYO -- Nearly half of respondents in a nationwide public opinion poll conducted on Sept. 18 say the government's plan to relax coronavirus-related restrictions once more people are vaccinated is reasonable, while just over one-third say restrictions "should not be relaxed."

    The government is currently requesting that restaurants and other establishments shorten their business hours and stop serving alcohol in areas under a COVID-19 state of emergency. It has outlined a plan to ease such restrictions once vaccinations have progressed.

    In the nationwide poll conducted by the Mainichi Shimbun and the Social Survey Research Center, 49% of respondents said the government's plan was "reasonable," exceeding the 34% who said restrictions "should not be relaxed." Nine percent said that restrictions "should be relaxed much sooner," while 7% said they didn't know what to think of the plan.

    As for vaccine passports that could be shown upon entering dining establishments and on other occasions as proof that one has been vaccinated, 62% of respondents said they "should be adopted," far exceeding the 27% who said that they "should not be adopted." Ten percent of respondents said they "did not know."

    Some countries have made moves to make coronavirus vaccinations mandatory. Forty-three percent of the poll's respondents said the vaccination "should be made mandatory in Japan, too," and 46% said that "making it mandatory would be problematic." Those who "did not know" comprised 11% of respondents. In Japan, vaccinations are not forced, but there have been calls to consider making them mandatory.

    (Japanese original by Nanae Ito, Political News Department)

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