In March of this year, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) revealed the new dates for next summer’s Olympic Games. Spanning July 23rd to August 8th, the revised dates are situated almost exactly one year after the original dates of July 24th to August 8th, delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
We’re at the ‘one year to go’ mark until the world’s biggest summer sporting event, but recent polls in the host nation of Japan reveal only 23.9% of citizens are in favor of holding the Olympic and Paralympics. More than half of the 2,097 Japanese citizens polled via telephone say they are ‘dissatisfied’ with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe‘s response to the coronavirus situation. (Kyodo News)
Additionally, 36.4% of respondents to the nationwide opinion pool think that the Summer Games should be postponed again, while 33.7% say they should be cancelled entirely, citing opinions the government should instead prioritize resources on fighting the spread of the coronavirus in Japan.
Moreover, per Kyodo News, while the approval rate for Abe’s Cabinet stood at 38.8 percent, compared with 36.7 percent about a month ago, it found that 66.4 percent think the government should declare again a state of emergency in response to a recent surge in the number of new virus cases in Tokyo and elsewhere.
At the time of publishing, the nation of Japan reports 25,692 cases of coronavirus since the pandemic (.02% of the population) resulting in 988 deaths.
Although the coronavirus pandemic as a reason for decreased enthusiasm for the Games is brand new, the fact that not all citizens support an Olympic Games’ production is not. In a study entitled Public-Opinion-in-Olympic-Cities researchers concluded that, historically, ‘hosting the Olympics is fraught with significant concerns, controversy and even opposition.’
In the study, it’s noted that ‘It is in this phase [implementation] that questions about costs, traffic, and prioritizing the urban agenda become most acute and apprehension and conflict builds.’