Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics Games have officially announced that this year’s Olympics will be held with no fans at the events amid a COVID-19 state of emergency in Japan.
According to Inside Japan, the country is on a “fourth wave” of people testing positive for COVID-19. This seems to have prompted the Japanese Government to take action.
On Thursday, the Japanese Government declared a state of emergency that will take effect on Monday, July 12, and last through August 22. According to the Asahi Shimbun, venues throughout Tokyo will be “completely empty.” as well.
AP News reports that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga stated, “Taking into consideration the impact of the delta strain, and in order to prevent the resurgence of infections from spreading across the country, we need to step up virus prevention measures.” He adds, “I have already said I won’t hesitate to have no spectators.”
Two weeks ago, Olympic organizers announced that they would allow some domestic spectators to attend the Games events in close cooperation with their Government. They capped attendance at 10,000 people, or 50 percent of a venue’s capacity, but warned at the time that if infections rose again and a new state of emergency was declared, they might reconsider.
“I don’t know what will happen to the infection situation that changes from day to day, but the organizing committee will be prepared (to hold the games) without spectators and be able to correspond to any policy that may be shown.” Seiko Hashimoto, president of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, said in a meeting last week.
The decision comes as the country’s media reported that the general public would be barred from attending the opening ceremony in two weeks. Tokyo reported 920 new infections on Wednesday, the highest daily caseload since the middle of May. In addition, Japan’s media also reported that only “special guests” like Olympic sponsors, foreign leaders, and Olympic officials would be allowed.
Suga stated that the state of emergency was required to “prevent the resurgence of future cases across the country.”
Olympic organizers have outlined and plan to implement a complex series of COVID countermeasures to limit contact with non-Japanese citizens. The events will rely on testing, distance, and a long list of unrequired vaccine protocols to combat COVID-19.
The decision to ban spectators is the latest setback for fans, following a year of postponement due to the pandemic, a steady downscaling of events, a ban on foreign fans, and a cap on domestic spectators.
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