65% think Japan’s coronavirus vaccine rollout is slow: Kyodo poll

Mar 22 , 2021. 13 hours ago – 21:18 KYODO NEWS

TOKYO – Just under two-thirds of Japanese people think the government’s rollout of coronavirus vaccines, which started in mid-February, has been slow, a weekend Kyodo News survey showed Sunday.

In the telephone survey conducted nationwide on Saturday and Sunday, 65.6 percent of respondents said progress has been slow in rolling out the vaccines, with 28.9 percent saying vaccinations have been going smoothly.

The results come as the country is still in the process of inoculating health care workers, aiming to start vaccinations of the elderly in mid-April. Vaccines for all people aged 65 or older are to be delivered to local governments by the end of June.

The opinion poll also showed 82.2 percent were worried about the spread of coronavirus variants in Japan.

A COVID-19 state of emergency in the Tokyo region expires at the end of Sunday, relaxing anti-virus measures such as shortened business hours for restaurants and bars. Emergency measures were already lifted in other regions.

The state of emergency initially declared in early January for the Tokyo metropolitan area was extended twice beyond the original end date of Feb. 7, but a majority of the respondents questioned Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s decision to lift it at the end of Sunday, with 52.2 percent saying the move was too early, 27.9 percent saying the lifting was appropriately timed and 12.9 percent saying the decision should have been made earlier.

The approval rate for Suga’s Cabinet stood at 42.1 percent, up from 38.8 percent in the previous poll last month when the rating fell below 40 percent for the first time since he took office in September. The disapproval rate declined to 41.5 percent from 45.9 percent in February.

With just four months until the opening of the Tokyo Olympics, only 23.2 percent said the Olympic and Paralympic Games should go ahead as scheduled, while 39.8 percent thought the events should be canceled.

As for plans considered by the Olympic organizers to limit spectators at the summer games, 53.9 percent believe caps should be set while 39.8 percent oppose allowing any spectators into venues.

Meanwhile, 73.9 percent said Suga had not provided a sufficient explanation regarding allegations that his son, who works for a well-known media production company, as well as officials of telecommunications giant Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. entertained communications ministry bureaucrats at posh restaurants in potential violation of the ethics code.

The survey, covering 708 randomly selected households with eligible voters and 1,335 mobile phone numbers, yielded responses from 529 and 525 people, respectively.

Cr. KYUDO NEWS