TOKYO — Seventy-three percent of respondents in a Dec. 18 nationwide opinion poll conducted by the Mainichi Shimbun and the Social Survey Research Center said they harbored fears about the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus in Japan, well over the 16% who said they weren’t worried about it.
In the previous poll conducted on Nov. 13, before the first case of the omicron variant was confirmed in Japan, 66% of respondents said they felt anxious about a potential sixth wave of the coronavirus. The latest poll results suggest that there are strong fears among people about the omicron strain.
With regard to the booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, 65% of respondents to the Dec. 18 survey said they were hoping to receive it at an early date, while 21% said they weren’t. About 6% said they had yet to take the second shot, while 8% said they weren’t sure about getting one.
The government recently outlined a plan to shorten the interval between the second and third COVID-19 shots by up to two months from the initially planned eight months for medical professionals and elderly people.
When asked about plans for traveling and hometown visits during the year-end and New Year holiday season, just 26% said they were planning on making such trips, while 69% said they weren’t. Four percent said they were still debating the matter. The survey results indicate many people remain cautious about traveling a long distance.
In a December 2020 poll, 15% of pollees said they planned to travel and visit their hometowns, as opposed to 78% who said they didn’t. Seven percent said they were still considering the option.
Japan lifted the COVID-19 state of emergency at the end of September, with hopes high for consumer spending picking up. However, in the latest poll, only around 37% said their spending on shopping, dining out, traveling and other activities had increased. Nearly half, at 48%, said their expenses on those activities remained unchanged, while 15% said their spending had dropped. By age, more than 40% of those in their 40s and younger said their expenditure on those activities had increased, surpassing the corresponding figure for people in their 50s and older.
(Japanese original by Nanae Ito, Political News Department)