Tokyo Olympics: 10,000 local spectators allowed for each event
In a major development, the Tokyo Olympics will welcome nearly 10,000 local spectators at each event. The organizing committee officials and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) informed about the same on Monday. Notably, the organizers have set a limit of 50 percent up to a maximum of 10,000 fans for all Olympic venues. The upcoming Olympic Games are set to begin on July 23.
A look at the official statement
"In light of the government's restrictions on public events, the spectator limit for the Olympic Games will be set at 50 percent of venue capacity, up to a maximum of 10,000 people in all venues," the organizers said in a statement.
The decision was taken after the five-party meeting
The decision to allow spectators at the Tokyo Games was announced after the so-called five-party meeting, which included local organizers, the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee, the Japanese Government and the Government of Tokyo. Notably, the organizing committee had earlier barred the overseas fans from attending the Games. As per the officials, the local fans will have to follow strict rules too.
The decision to allow fans could be reviewed
Japan's top medical adviser, Dr. Shigeru Omi, recently recommended that organizers should hold the Games behind closed doors. Considering the same, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said, "If there should be a major dramatic change in the infection situation, we may need to revisit this matter amongst ourselves and we may need to consider the option of having no spectators in the venues."
Tokyo still under "quasi-emergency" until July 11
Tokyo and other prefectures are still under "quasi-emergency" status until July 11. A complete state of emergency was in effect until last weekend. The new rules will allow restaurants to serve alcohol during limited hours. Notably, Tokyo confirmed 236 new COVID-19 cases on Monday. A Ugandan athlete became the first to test COVID-19 positive on arrival in Japan.
Japan PM Yoshihide Suga gives priority to safety of people
Before the announcement, Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga had said that he would bar fans if the COVID-19 situation changes. "If a state of emergency is necessary, I will be flexible and open to no fans in order to achieve that the games give top priority to safety and security for the people. I will not hesitate to have no fans," he had said.
A look at further details
The officials have clarified that the local fans will have to follow stern COVID-19 protocols. They are refrained from cheering during the Games. The fans will be told to go home after attending the events. According to the organizers, nearly 3.7 million tickets are reserved for Japanese residents. The details on the number of spectators for the Paralympics will be confirmed by July 16.
What are the complications?
It is evident that the decision to allow spectators puts the security of Japanese residents at risk amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Apart from regular fans, VIPs and corporate guests will also be attending the Olympics. It is understood that the opening ceremony (July 23) could see as many as 10,000 special guests. As per reports, Japan is also lagging behind in rolling out vaccines.