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Global interest in Tokyo Games muted

July 14, 2021 08:40 IST

Only 22 per cent of Japanese say the Games should go ahead

Tokyo Olympics

IMAGE: An anti-Olympics protest in Tokyo, May 17, 2021. Photograph: Naoki Ogura/Reuters

Global interest in the Tokyo Olympics is muted, a Ipsos poll of 28 countries showed, amid concerns over COVID-19 in Japan and withdrawals of high-profile athletes, with the host country among the most disinterested.

The poll released on Tuesday found a global average of 46 per cent interest in the Games, but excitement varied across markets, with less than 35 per cent in Japan.


The pandemic-hit Olympics, due to start in nine days, have lost public support amid lingering concerns over infection risks and a state of emergency being declared in Tokyo, despite organisers promising strict coronavirus measures.

Spectators have been barred from attending all Olympic events in Tokyo and surrounding regions and Japanese officials are asking residents to watch the Games on TV to keep the movement of people to a minimum.

Only 22 per cent of Japanese say the Games should go ahead, the Ipsos survey showed.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said a sufficient number of hospitals combined with a speed-up in the COVID-19 vaccination rollout among the elderly meant the city will be able to hold 'safe and secure' Olympics.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach, who has praised the organisers for staging the event, will meet Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Wednesday, Suga's office said.

US First Lady Jill Biden, not her husband President Joe Biden, will travel to Tokyo for the opening ceremony on July 23, the White House said.

Switzerland's Roger Federer became the latest big name in tennis to withdraw from the Tokyo Olympics after the 20-time Grand Slam champion said on Tuesday that he had picked up a knee injury during the grasscourt season.

The Games, postponed from last year because of the pandemic, run from July 23 to Aug. 8. Tokyo's state of emergency, the capital's fourth, lasts until Aug. 22, shortly before the Paralympics begin.

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