TOKYO (AP) — An election in Japan’s capital has left the Tokyo city assembly splintered amid worries about health risks during the Olympics, opening in three weeks, as coronavirus cases continue to rise.
In Sunday’s balloting for 127 seats, Gov. Yuriko Koike’s Tomin First party was elected in 31 seats, down from 46. The Liberal Democrats, the ruling party on the national level, won 33 seats, up from 25.
Public opinion surveys show about 60% of respondents want the Games canceled or postponed again. Behind the fears is the lagging vaccination rollout, with only about 10% of the population fully vaccinated.
The only major party clearly advocating for the Olympics to be canceled was the Communist Party, which gained one seat for a total of 19. The opposition Democrats, who raised questions about holding the Olympics, advanced from eight seats to 15. Together they now form another solid bloc at 34.
The Liberal Democrats are promising “a safe and secure games.” Koike and her party called for having no spectators in the stands. The organizing committee has said a decision on attendance restrictions was still being studied.
Eligible voters total 9.8 million people in the megacity with a population of nearly 14 million.
The Olympics, opening July 23, bring together 15,000 athletes and more than 50,000 officials, including corporate sponsors and dignitaries, as well as 70,000 volunteers.