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Olympics unlikely to turn around public disapproval as Suga had hoped

Kyodo reported that although the Suga administration went ahead with hosting the Olympic Games based on the assessment that Japanese people would probably forget their opposition amid the excitement of Japanese athletes’ stellar performance once the Games got started, Japan’s “gold medal rush” apparently failed to turn around the prime minister’s falling popularity in the face of what he himself referred to as an “unprecedented surge” in COVID-19 cases throughout the 17-day sporting event. Although Suga completely dismissed on Aug. 8 the prevailing view that the Olympics were at least partly responsible for the resurgence, most public health experts believe that many people lowered their guard against the virus by citing the Games as an excuse not to comply with government calls to stay home. Some GOJ officials are still hoping that more people now support the decision to hold the Olympics and that such sentiment will help boost the prime minister’s popularity, but others are afraid that since people are likely to shift their focus to the COVID-19 situation now, Suga may end up in dire straits if public disapproval of the administration’s handling of the pandemic grows.

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