Survey finds Tokyo residents have reservations over rescheduled Olympics
More than half of Tokyo residents surveyed in a recent public poll would like to see the Olympic Games in the Japanese capital next year postponed or cancelled.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics have already been put back 12 months due to the coronavirus pandemic, and are now scheduled for 23 July to 8 August.
However, in a telephone survey Kyodo News has found that 24 per cent of the city’s residents want the games postponed again, and another 27.7 per cent want them cancelled entirely, amid fears that the virus will still be at large.
Only 46.3 per cent said they wanted the Olympics to go ahead in the rescheduled slot.
In terms of how a post-coronavirus Olympics would look, 31.1 per cent of respondents said the games should be held behind closed doors, and be generally scaled back, with only 15.2 per cent wanting an event with no changes from previous editions.
Earlier this month, Tokyo 2020 board member Harayuki Takahashi was reported as saying that the Olympics should be delayed further if they cannot take place next summer but the International Olympic Committee has been firm that mid-2021 represents the latest option for the games to take place.
Thomas Bach, the IOC’s president, has said the games will be scrapped if they cannot be held then because "you can't every year change the entire worldwide sports schedule of all the major federations. You can't have the athletes being in uncertainty... and so much overlapping with a future Olympic Games.”
Yoshiro Mori, the Tokyo 2020 president, has said that the prospect of cancelling the games had not yet been discussed with the IOC.
A further delay would be likely to create huge logistical issues, given that the next Winter Olympics are scheduled to take place in Beijing in February 2022.
It will be followed by the Fifa World Cup in Qatar in November and December 2022.
Japanese reports have suggested that delaying the games until next summer is already set to add around $2.8 billion to the original games budget of $12.6 billion.
The IOC has set aside $650 million to cover potential extra costs associated with the Olympics delay.