TDespite the ongoing corona pandemic, Japan’s Olympic organizers want to allow up to 10,000 local spectators to all competitions at the Summer Games in Tokyo. However, a maximum of only half of the seats in the arenas may be occupied, as the Japanese hosts decided on Monday after discussions with the International Olympic Committee. However, the decision is subject to change.
If the corona infection situation worsens by July 12 and an emergency has to be declared again, viewers could still be completely locked out. Even before the decision was announced, IOC President Thomas Bach had assured: “The IOC will fully support your decision.” The 67-year-old reaffirmed that the Tokyo Games would be “safe and protected” and referred to a vaccination rate of more than 80 percent of those involved.
Foreign visitors are denied entry to the Summer Games, as the organizers had already decided in March. Japan’s most important corona government advisor, the physician Shigeru Omi, recently spoke out again for ghost games without fans in the stands. According to a national Kyodo survey carried out over the weekend, 40.3 percent of Japanese citizens believe that the Olympics in Tokyo should be held without any spectators. 30.8 percent of those surveyed even think that the games should be canceled.
Due to ongoing concerns about the spread of the virus and its mutations during the games, the planned public viewings in Tokyo were canceled. The vaccination process has been extremely slow in Japan and has only recently picked up speed. The summer games actually planned for 2020 had been postponed by a year due to the pandemic and should open on July 23.
Most recently, Prime Minister Suga decided to lift the corona emergency that has been in place for Tokyo for months. However, some restrictions should continue to apply. The Olympic competitions are held in around 40 arenas in Tokyo and other prefectures. Since in some cases more tickets have already been sold than are now available, some of the seats are to be raffled according to the media. For the Paralympics, which start on August 24, a decision on spectators is to be made on July 16.