THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
March 22, 2021 at 15:16 JST
An official shop selling items of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games is temporarily closed at Narita Airport on March 20. (Hikaru Uchida)
More than 70 percent of citizens in China, South Korea, Thailand, France and the United States want the Tokyo Olympic Games canceled or postponed again because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a survey showed.
The survey was conducted in December and January by the Japan Press Research Institute, a public-interest incorporated foundation based in Tokyo.
In Thailand, a combined 95.6 percent of respondents answered that the sporting events should be either called off or delayed, the highest ratio of the five countries surveyed.
It was followed by: South Korea, at 94.7 percent; China, at 82.1 percent; the United States, at 74.4 percent; and France, at 70.6 percent, according to the survey results released on March 20.
The survey contacted 1,000 respondents in each country through interviews or telephone calls. All respondents gave valid answers.
In a similar survey taken by the institute in November, 71.9 percent of 3,064 respondents in Japan backed a cancellation or delay of the Games.
The pandemic has already forced the postponement of the 2020 Olympics to summer this year. The survey was conducted before Olympic organizers decided to ban foreign spectators from attending the events.
A representative of a Chinese research firm commissioned by the institute to take the poll in China cited a heightened sense of alarm over COVID-19 as a key factor behind the response.
“In China, the scare of the novel coronavirus has been widely shared by members of the public,” the representative said. “Respondents have been exposed to information most of which take a pessimistic view of Japan’s intent to hold the Tokyo Olympics.”
A representative in South Korea said the high percentage reflects continuing public anxieties about COVID-19. The representative also said negative sentiment against Japan held by many South Koreans may have had something to do with the large opposition to holding the Tokyo Games.
The survey, which has been held annually since 2015 to gauge opinions on international issues, usually covers Britain. But the latest poll was not taken in Britain because of the severe COVID-19 situation there.
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