Japan will soon decide on domestic spectators

People walk in front of the security fence of the Olympic Stadium (National Stadium) built for the Tokyo Olympics, which has been postponed to 2021 due to the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Tokyo, Japan, June 11, 2021. REUTERS / Pawel Kopczynski

  • Officials expect up to 10,000 local spectators
  • Decision will be made this month – government
  • Osaka governor against lifting emergency “too easily”

TOKYO, June 16 (Reuters) – Japan will decide this month whether or not to allow domestic spectators to attend the Tokyo Olympics, the government’s chief spokesman said on Wednesday, after experts approved a plan to allow allow crowds of up to 10,000 people at events.

The final call for participation in the Games will be made taking into account the conditions of coronavirus infection and the prevalence of variants, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told reporters.

Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said health experts agreed with a government plan that would allow up to 10,000 spectators or 50% of a venue’s capacity, whichever is smaller, during events, under certain conditions.

Allowing such crowds is dependent on the absence of special infection controls in a state of emergency or near-emergency, so they may still not be possible during the Games .

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told reporters the government will make a decision on extending states of emergency after they expire on June 20 after hearing expert opinions on Thursday.

Broadcaster TBS and other media said the state of emergency would not be extended for nine of the 10 prefectures, including Tokyo and Osaka. But of the nine, Tokyo, Osaka and five others will instead be subject to near-emergency measures, they said.

In near-emergency measures, just as in a state of emergency, spectators at major events are limited to 5,000 or half the capacity of a site, whichever is greater. small of the two – meaning that even if domestic fans were allowed, they would only be a few thousand.

Foreign spectators have already been banned from the Olympics from July 23 as part of planned measures to achieve what the Japanese government and Olympic officials promise to be “safe and secure” games. Read more

Tokyo organizers could be forgiven for enviously watching the European Football Championship, as tens of thousands of fans are expected to gather in stadiums across the continent throughout the month-long show.

On Tuesday, a packed house of 67,000 fans watched Hungary take on Portugal in their first match of Euro 2020. Other nations allow crowds of different sizes, with up to 45,000 expected for the half. finals and the final on July 11 which will be played at Wembley Stadium in London.


Japan’s top medical adviser, Shigeru Omi, echoed the Economy Minister’s comments that participation limitation plans were not specifically tied to the Olympics. Omi told reporters he and other experts were in the final stages of drafting proposals for the Games, declining to elaborate on details.

Omi has been outspoken in recent weeks about the risks of holding the Games during a pandemic and said his advice and that of other experts did not travel to the International Olympic Committee.

The IOC has tried to allay these concerns by saying that most athletes and media coming to Tokyo will be vaccinated and the so-called manuals governing participant hygiene, movement and testing will further mitigate the risk of infection. . Read more

The Olympics have already been postponed for a year due to concerns about how organizers can keep Japanese volunteers, athletes, officials and the public safe when they begin after a fourth wave of infections.

Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura said on Wednesday he was against lifting the declaration of emergency “too easily”, adding that he would call for near-emergency measures to prevent a rebound in the infection. Read more

The slowness of the vaccination campaign in Japan has started to gain momentum of late, and recent polls have shown the Games will continue.

Hofu town in southwestern Yamaguchi prefecture vaccinates high school students far ahead of the rest of the country before they volunteer to help with the national team’s pre-Games training volleyball player in Serbia, NHK reported.

Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Himani Sarkar

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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