TOKYO (AP) — Voters in Japan’s capital are electing the Tokyo city assembly amid worries about health risks during the Olympics, opening in three weeks, as coronavirus cases continue to rise.
In Sunday’s balloting, 271 candidates are vying for 127 seats. Eligible voters total 9.8 million people in the megacity with a population of nearly 14 million.
Public opinion surveys show most people want the Games canceled or postponed again. Behind the fears is the lagging vaccination rollout, with only about 10% of the population fully vaccinated.
Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike called in sick two weeks ago, citing exhaustion, and was not seen in public until Friday. Her routine role would have been to stump for her party, Tomin First, the biggest with 46 seats in the assembly heading into the election.
Neither Koike nor her party pushed for a cancellation, but instead called for the Games without fans in the stands. The organizing committee has said a decision on attendance restrictions was still being studied.
The only major party clearly advocating for the Olympic to be canceled was the Communist Party, which held 18 seats.
The Democrats, a leading opposition party, raised questions about the Olympics but pushed other issues in their campaign, such as economic aid for those hurt by the coronavirus.