As fears over the potential spread of Covid-19 among the population, the Tokyo Olympics will have much less international flair than normal. The Japanese government has decided to stage the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics with no overseas spectators.
Japan Bans Overseas Fans From Tokyo Olympics
Kyodo news agency who shared the news also reported that the opening ceremony of the torch relay on March 25 will also be held without spectators based on officials with knowledge of the matter, Reuters reported.
The news agency also mentioned that the organizing committee has decided that it is essential to hold the ceremony in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima behind closed doors, which only permits participants and invitees to participate in the event. The measure is the move of the Japanese government in order to avoid large crowds due to the threat of the pandemic.
However, the report was played down by the International Olympic Committee and stated that there is no decision yet made in relation to the banning of overseas spectators. But for some experts, the banning of foreign fans has been the clear direction because of the emergence of numerous mutant variants of the virus.
In the poll done by a newspaper this week, the majority of the Japanese population does not want visitors from other countries to attend the Tokyo Olympics as it could spark the resurgence of the Covid-19 infections. In the recent Olympic Games, which is the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang in South Korea, only 20% of the tickets were bought by international fans and 80% were accounted for local fans, CBS News reported.
Moreover, Thomas Bach, the IOC president has repeatedly insisted the Games will go ahead in July. But when pressed in January regarding packed stadiums of spectators who would cheer on the 10,500 athletes, Bach was circumspect.
Bach shared that because their priority is ensuring a safe Olympic Games, they will do whatever is needed to do that. He also mentioned that everybody would love to have full-capacity stadiums and crowds who are roaring but it will not be possible as they will respect their principles, safety is their first priority, Rappler reported.
In addition, the IOC executive board is set to meet this week to discuss their latest plans for the Tokyo Olympics. Back is due to speak on Wednesday, the time that he will be re-elected as IOC president, and another statement on Friday is also set.
Meanwhile, the country of Japan has recorded not less than 441,200 coronavirus cases, with the death toll at more than 8,300. While the figures are relatively low in the country, the coronavirus vaccination program of Japan has been slowed down because to the short supply and the requirement for clinical trials for new medicines, which includes vaccines that need to be conducted with patients in Japan.
The campaign started three weeks ago and since it started, only less than 46,500 doses had been administered to frontline medical workers as of last Friday. But the Japanese government is making sure that they will be ready at the time of the Tokyo Olympics.