Nearly 70 percent of Japanese firms polled in a new survey have said they are in favor of cancelling or delaying the Tokyo Olympics over concerns they could cause coronavirus cases to spike and further strain the country’s already burdened medical system.
“There’s no way that the Olympics can go ahead under the current circumstances,” a manager at a metals firm wrote in the survey, conducted for Reuters by Nikkei Research.
“Nothing the government does seems to be well-planned. All it appears to be doing is spreading anxiety,” he added.
Meanwhile, many residents have said they are conflicted over the olympics.
“Variant strains could enter, creating a terrible situation. But when I think of the athletes who have worked so hard, I’d like to let them do it,” Keiko Yamamura, a 58-year-old yoga instructor, told Reuters.
Japan is currently battling a surge in infections, which has created a shortage of medical staff and hospital beds in some areas.
With the Games just nine weeks away, the government has imposed a state of emergency over much of the country until the end of May to contain infections.
In the meantime, the country’s vaccination program has moved at a slow pace, with just 4 percent of the population vaccinated against the coronavirus.
According to the results of the monthly Corporate Survey covering around 480 large and midsize non-financial companies, 37 percent of firms favor calling off the Games, while 32 percent support a delay.
Of the total firms surveyed, about 230 answered questions about the Olympics.
The number of firms calling for a cancellation showed an increase compared to February, when 29 percent of respondents had favored a cancellation.
Meanwhile, 25 percent of the firms surveyed in May feel there would be large economic losses if the Games are delayed or called off, about 60 percent expect economic losses to be limited, while 13 percent believe the losses would be relatively small.
The Japanese government and International Olympic Committee have repeatedly said that the Games will be held as scheduled.