67% in Sapporo Oppose 2030 Winter Olympics in New Survey

67% in Sapporo Oppose 2030 Winter Olympics in New Survey

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20-14 Winter Olympic games in Sochi, Russia
Picture: DepositPhotos
Here we go again? Sapporo is bidding for the 2030 Winter Olympics - but, much like the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, few residents actually want it.

Here we go again? Plans are afoot for Sapporo to host the 2030 Winter Olympics. However, a new survey says few people in Sapporo actually want them, making the entire episode feel like a rehash of the controversial 2020 Tokyo Summer games.

Sapporo is currently one of only two cities bidding for for the 2030 Winter Olympics. The other is Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. Bids are still in the preliminary stage, however, as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has delayed making a decision on a host until 2024. The IOC says it’s considering a number of changes to how it hosts the games in response to climate change concerns.

That means people in Sapporo have more time to think about whether the games would be a good thing for the city. Increasingly, more and more residents are deciding it isn’t.

In the current poll, conducted by Hokkaido Shimbun, a full 67% of residents said they opposed the Winter Games, with a clear majority – 52% saying they flatly oppose it. A smaller percentage, 15% say they’re somewhat opposed. Only 33% support (12%) or somewhat support (21%) the games.

This represents a major decline in support compared to the last poll. The number of people opposing the games rose 10%, while the number of people supporting declined by 9%. The previous poll showed a 15% gap in support; with this poll, the gap is now 34%.

Snow and scandals

Sapporo Odori Park
Picture: katochar / PIXTA(ピクスタ)

When asked why they oppose the Winter Games, 48% of respondents said the city should spend its resources on COVID-19 prevention and snow removal instead. (Japan is currently beset by a harsher than usual winter.)

Another 23% oppose the games due to the scandals surrounding the last Olympics in Tokyo in 2020. Last year, authorities arrested Takahashi Haruyuki for allegedly taking millions in bribes related to Olympics sponsorships. The scandal has also implicated former Prime Minister and former JOC head Mori Yoshiro. Mori resigned from the JOC over controversial comments he made about women.


Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party and the Japanese Olympic Committee controversially pushed ahead with the 2020 games despite deep public opposition. Time will tell whether those in power listen to the people this time or repeat the same playbook.

A lot of the movement in the current poll comes from women. A full 73% of women polled oppose the 2030 Olympics – a full 18-point rise from the last poll. Also, those in the political center or left are more likely to oppose the Games. A full 80% of people who identify with the centrist left Constitutional Democratic Party and with the Japan Communist Party are against them. 70% of political independents also voiced opposition.


2030年冬季五輪招致 札幌市民の67%が「反対」. Yahoo! News JP

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Jay Allen

Jay is a resident of Tokyo where he works as a reporter for Unseen Japan and as a technial writer. A lifelong geek, wordsmith, and language fanatic, he has level N1 certification in the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) and is fervently working on his Kanji Kentei Level 2 certification.

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