Tokyo governor optimistic about Olympics despite public doubts

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

With yet another poll suggesting Japanese residents are doubtful, Tokyo’s newly reelected governor vowed to work with national officials to contain the coronavirus pandemic in time for next summer’s Olympic Games.

Gov. Yuriko Koike won a second term, in part, by impressing voters with her handling of the outbreak in a city of more than 13 million.

“I will firmly overcome the pandemic with the help of the power of the government, and lead to the Olympics and Paralympics as proof of our victory,” she was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.


Her constituents seem less optimistic.

Racism and the right of athletes to protest on the podium will be among issues addressed by U.S. Olympic leaders.

June 9, 2020

A poll conducted by Kyodo News and Tokyo MX television last month found that more than half of the city’s residents do not want the postponed Olympics in late July 2021. Another survey, conducted this week by Japan News Network, showed only 17% of residents believe the global sporting event will be held.

Though new cases remain comparatively low in the Japanese capital, concern remains about a resurgence after rates dropped significantly in June.

“Gov. Koike and I will have to cooperate more closely than ever,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.