The president of the organizing committee for the Tokyo Olympic Games confirmed this Friday to AFP the possibility of not seeing any spectators during the international event organized from July 23 to August 8 in Japan, due to the epidemic coronavirus.
The upsurge in the number of positive cases for Covid-19 in Japan has led to the establishment of a new state of emergency in Tokyo and its surroundings. A health situation that could again upset the Olympic Games planned for the summer. If the international competition is not called into question, the presence of spectators in the stands seems most uncertain and a closed door is possible.
There could be a “situation in which we could not allow spectators” at all, Seiko Hashimoto, chair of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, admitted to AFP, adding that the Games would only be a success if the organizers “completely” protected the sportsmen and the Japanese population.
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Final decision in June?
Less than three months before the start of the Olympics, on July 23, the organizers do not want to take any risks and wish to organize a “safe” event, both for the athletes involved and for the spectators.
After banning the presence of spectators from abroad in order to limit the spread of the virus in the Japanese peninsula, the organizers could now limit the movements of Japanese spectators. Scheduled for April and then postponed due to the multiplication of cases due to variants of the coronavirus, a final decision on the presence or not of the public should be taken during the month of June according to local media. It also remains to be seen under what conditions will be the reception of athletes, while several delegations such as South Korea have started the vaccination of athletes for the Olympics. For now, quarantine for participants will not be required, however, and vaccines will not be mandatory.
Even behind closed doors, even in a health bubble and despite strong opposition from public opinion in Japan, Seiko Hashimoto hopes that fans will ultimately be “happy” with the Tokyo Olympics. And the boss of the organizing committee concluded: “My big goal is to prepare for the Games so that people see it that way.”