Japan to stage Olympics without spectators in Tokyo amid Covid-19 emergency
Tokyo: The upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo will be held without spectators. All the stakeholders involved in organising the Games on Thursday came to this conclusion after the Japan government announced an emergency in and around Tokyo until the end of the Games that will be held from July 23-August 8.
With the government of Japan virtually barring spectators’ entry into the stadiums, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) supported the decision, thus sealing the fate of the Olympics as ‘closed games’.
In June, the Japan government had announced possibility of allowing a limited number of local spectators into the stadia. A decision to not allow foreign spectators was taken a few months ago.
On Thursday, Japan’s Olympics Minister Tamayo Marukawa made the announcement following discussions with officials and organisers.
A state of emergency in Tokyo will run throughout the Games, to combat the coronavirus. Japan is experiencing a new surge in cases and according to reports, on Wednesday 2, 180 new cases were reported in the country. Some 920 of those were in Tokyo, up from 714 last week and it’s the highest since 1,010 detected on May 13.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told reporters in Tokyo that the state of emergency would run from July 12 and remain in place until August 22, thus impacting the start of the Paralympic Games, which will start on August 24 and run till September 5.
The big announcement by the Japan government got the five stakeholders into a huddle and they came out with a joint statement supporting the move.
“The GoJ today decided to announce a state of emergency in Tokyo. The state of emergency in Tokyo is being implemented as a measure aimed at suppressing the flow of people in order to prevent the spread of infection now, because the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases remains high and the number of people infected with variant COVID-19 strains in Tokyo is increasing,” the joint statement said.
“In response to the state of emergency, stricter measures with regard to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 have also been decided by the three Japanese parties. No spectators will be allowed into any venues in Tokyo during the Olympic Games. Under this policy, in areas where emergency measures are not in force, local government authorities will meet and decide specific measures in consultation with the local governors based on the situation in each area,” the IOC statement said.
It was decided on Thursday that a call on allowing spectators at the Paralympic Games will be taken after the Olympic Games.