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Most Japanese support overseas Olympic fan ban-poll

/ 08:22 PM March 22, 2021
Tokyo Olympics

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games that have been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, is seen through signboards, at Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office building in Tokyo, Japan January 22, 2021. REUTERS/Issei Kato

The vast majority of Japanese agree with the decision to bar overseas spectators from the Tokyo Olympics, a new poll found Monday, with support for the Games still low but growing.

Organizers took the unprecedented decision to ban overseas fans from this summer’s virus-delayed Games on Saturday, calling the move disappointing but “unavoidable” because of safety fears during the pandemic.

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A poll by the Asahi Shimbun daily found that 85 percent of respondents think overseas fans should be barred from the event, with only 11 percent saying they should be allowed to attend.

The poll, which received responses from 1,564 people on Saturday and Sunday, found that less than one third of respondents (27 percent) think the Games should be held this summer.

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The majority said they think the event should either be postponed again (36 percent) or canceled (33 percent).

Games organizers insist another postponement is out of the question.

The latest figures suggest support for the Games is slowly growing in Japan, with a similar poll in January finding just 11 percent thought they should go ahead this summer, rising to 21 percent in February.

Another poll by the Kyodo news agency over the weekend found that 23.2 percent of respondents thought the Games should go ahead as scheduled, while 39.8 thought they should be canceled.

Kyodo did not specify whether those were the only options offered to respondents. It received responses from 1,054 people.

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