Sources say Japan has decided to stage this summer’s Tokyo Olympics without overseas spectators due to public concern about COVID-19. The Olympics, postponed by a year because of the pandemic, are scheduled for July 23 to August 8, 2021.
The Japanese government has concluded that welcoming fans from abroad would not be possible given public concern about the coronavirus and the detection of more contagious variants in many countries. The opening ceremony of the torch relay would also be held without any spectators.
The Tokyo 2020 games organizing committee, however, is not giving up on the possibility of overseas spectators. Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto has said she wants a decision by late March on whether to let in overseas spectators before the start of the torch relay. She said the decision will be “based on factors including the state of infections in Japan and other countries, possible epidemic-prevention measures, and expert scientific advice.”
While coronavirus infection numbers have been relatively low in Japan compared to other nations, the country has seen an increase in positive cases and Tokyo remains under a state of emergency. Japan has recorded more than 441,200 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic.
Copyright 2021 Thomson/Reuters