Coronavirus anxiety spreads across Japan

An NHK opinion poll conducted earlier this month shows that anxiety about the coronavirus is growing in Japan. Nearly half of respondents said they do not believe this summer's Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will be held as planned.

2,222 people aged 18 and older were contacted on the phone between March 6-8, with 1,240 respondents.

Anxious about coronavirus

74% of respondents said they feel anxious about contracting the virus. The percentage is up seven points from the previous month. 24% said they feel very anxious, while 50% said they were anxious to some extent.

20% said they aren't too anxious, and 4% said they don't feel anxious at all.

Government response divides opinion

49% of respondents said they approve of the government's handling of the outbreak, down 15 percentage points from the previous month. 6% said they highly approve, while 43% said they approve to some extent.

47% said they do not approve of the government's handling, up 17 points from last month. 34% said they mostly don't approve, while 13% said they don't approve at all.

School closure "unavoidable"

The government requested elementary and junior and senior high schools around the country to close temporarily at the end of last month.

69% of respondents said this was unavoidable, while 24% said it was excessive.

Border control

On Monday, the government ramped up border control measures, allowing flights from China and South Korea to land at only two airports. Travelers arriving from these countries are now being asked to self-quarantine at home or in a hotel for two weeks. The government has already been denying entry to visitors from certain areas of China, South Korea, and Iran.

77% of respondents said they are in favor of these measures. 36% said they highly approve, while 41% said they somewhat approve. On the other hand, 18% said they do not approve. 13% said they mostly don't approve and 5% said they don't approve at all.

Widespread worries about economy

60% of respondents said they are very concerned about the impact the virus may have on the Japanese economy. 30% said they have some concern. 5% said they don't have much concern and 1% said they aren't concerned at all.


The Olympics and Paralympics are scheduled to be held between July and September, and organizers have said they are preparing for the events as planned.

40% of respondents said they believe the Games will be held, while 45% said they do not.

The government is currently calling for the cancellations of all large-scale events. Those related to the Olympic torch relay have also been affected. The Olympic organizing committee says it will come up with plans ahead of each relay event. It says it may ask the public to refrain from gathering along the routes. The nationwide relay starts on March 26th in Fukushima Prefecture.