After virus-hit Olympics, audiences split over future games in Japan

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The Japanese public seems divided over hosting the Olympics again in the future, while nearly 40% of those surveyed think it is good for the Tokyo Games to go ahead despite COVID-19, a recently showed a private sector survey.

The Nomura Research Institute’s online survey also found that around 45% of those polled in and around Tokyo, where most of the competition venues were located, said it was “the right decision. “to organize the games without spectators.

People gather in front of the National Stadium for the closing ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics on August 8, 2021. The ceremony took place without spectators from the general public amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Kyodo) == Kyodo

The spread of COVID-19 posed a significant challenge for organizers who hosted the Olympics from July 23 to August 8 despite public opposition and fears it could turn into a large-scale event. Foreign spectators were prohibited.

When asked if Japan should host the Olympics again in the future, 36.3 percent of the survey of 3,564 people were positive about the prospect while 36.0 percent were negative. Some 27.7 percent were neither for nor against Japan which is once again hosting the games.

The organizers of the games and the Japanese government have sought to reassure a suspicious public by promising to provide “safe and secure” games. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who had faced a deluge of criticism for his government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, stepped down later this month amid waning public support.

In total, 38.8% said it was “very good” or “good” that the Olympics had taken place, while 30.5% said the games should have been canceled.

Corporate sponsors have also struggled to decide how to position themselves in the face of concerns about potential damage to their reputation. In Japan, Toyota Motor Corp., a major sponsor, has decided not to run any TV commercials related to the Olympics. Company presidents also abstained from attending the opening ceremony, as the continuation of the games remained a divisive issue.

The Nomura survey conducted on July 24 and August 8 found no significant change in public perceptions of corporate sponsors before and after the Olympics.

Before the big sporting event, 49.9% had favorable perceptions, while 50.2% had negative perceptions. The corresponding figures were 48.8% and 51.2% respectively after the Olympics.


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