“There will be no spectators.” The Tokyo Olympics, which are held from July 23 to August 8, will be held for the first time without an audience due to an increase in coronavirus cases in the Japanese capital. This was announced this Thursday by the Minister of the Olympic Games, Tamayo Marukawa.
“We have reached an agreement and there will be no spectators at the facilities in Tokyo,” said Marukawa at the end of a meeting with all parties concerned at the Olympic event, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Most of the Games facilities are located in the Japanese capital, but some tests will be in other departments, where “concrete measures” will also be taken in coordination with the organizers, Marukawa added.
The spike in infections in the capital has forced the authorities to reverse the measure announced two weeks ago of having up to 10,000 spectators in the stadiums.
State of emergency
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Tokyo Games have been a cause for debate and a real headache for the organizers, who already had to postpone them in 2020 due to the covid-19 and reschedule them for 2021.
This announcement comes a few hours after the Japanese government’s decision to implement a state of health emergency in Tokyo from Monday to August 22. This device will therefore encompass the entire duration of the Olympic Games.
“I believe that we can organize the Games in complete safety thanks to these measures,” Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga had declared on Thursday.
Bach, quarantined in Japan
IOC President Thomas Bach said that the organizers “have shown responsibility since the day the Games were postponed”, and stated that he would support “whatever measures are necessary to celebrate a safe Olympic and Paralympic Games for the Japanese people and all participants. “
Bach participated in the meeting telematically after arriving in Tokyo this Thursday and while observing a three-day quarantine in his hotel during before attending the final stretch of preparations for the Games, which are scheduled to open on the 23rd.
The decision affects Tokyo and three other neighboring prefectures that will host the bulk of the competitions, in addition to Hokkaido (north), although according to the minister for the Games, the public could be allowed to enter other venues located in Shizuoka, Fukushima and Miyagi , which will host sports such as cycling, baseball or soccer.
The organizers, who also decided months ago to veto the entry of foreign visitors to the country during the Games, had planned to enter about 800 million dollars (670 million euros) from the sale of tickets for the Games. Obviously, these expectations will not be met.