Photo/Illutration Protesters hold signs expressing their opposition to Sapporo’s bid to host the 2030 Winter Olympics on Jan. 15. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Nearly 50 percent of voters in Sapporo do not want the city to host the 2030 Winter Games, a key issue in the mayoral election scheduled for April 9, an Asahi Shimbun survey showed.

In the survey conducted on April 1 and 2, 56 percent of respondents in the Hokkaido capital said they “will consider” the mayoral candidates’ stances toward hosting the 2030 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in their decisions on election day.

Thirty-three percent of respondents said the Olympic issue will have no influence on their election choices.

Forty-seven percent of Sapporo respondents are against hosting the Games in the city, compared with 38 percent who “are for” it, according to the survey.

Seventy-nine percent of respondents said the city should hold a public referendum on whether Sapporo should continue its bidding for the event. Only 9 percent opposed the referendum idea.

Incumbent Katsuhiro Akimoto, who is running for his third term, is a staunch supporter of the city’s bid for the Games.

The two other candidates, Kaoru Takano, a former Sapporo official, and Hideo Kibata, secretary-general of a nonprofit organization, are calling for the discontinuation of the city’s bidding efforts.

The survey was conducted by contacting fixed telephone numbers selected at random by computer.

The survey takers received 784 valid responses, or 58 percent, from 1,350 fixed numbers of households with at least one eligible voter each.