Bad news for all sportsmen around the world who were waiting for the Olympics
The organizers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics have formally decided that this summer’s events will be staged without foreign spectators due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The meeting was attended by the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach, Seiko Hashimoto, president of the organizing committee, the head of the International Paralympic Committee Andrew Parsons, the governor of Tokyo Yuriko Koike and the Japanese Olympic minister Tamayo Marukawa.
The unprecedented decision was made by them and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
Seiko Hashimoto said this at a press conference: given the current state of infections and to avoid causing further problems to the medical system, it will not be possible to have foreign spectators.
Doors open in the event of a decline in infections
The organizers have decided to hold another meeting in April to understand how many people will be allowed to watch the athletes from the stands based on the evolution of the pandemic.
IOC head Thomas Bach said the organizers’ top priority is to ensure the safety of all participants in the Games and people in Japan.
“We share the disappointment of all the enthusiastic Olympic fans around the world,” Bach said in a statement. “We know this is a great sacrifice for everyone.”
The number of coronavirus cases recorded in Japan is relatively small compared to other countries, but many people have expressed skepticism that organizers could prevent the spread of the virus during the Olympics and Paralympics, which will involve around 15,000 athletes from around the world. .
However, in recent weeks the Japanese government had already expressed its intention and the impossibility of hosting, for the safety of citizens and spectators themselves, an audience for the Olympics.
Possible spectators: officials, journalists and volunteers
According to several officials familiar with the planning state, Japanese organizers are now considering allowing up to 50% of the expected spectator capacity for each Olympic venue.
They will also examine the number of people to be authorized to enter the Games, including journalists and staff in charge of supporting athletes, by April.
In a related development, Japanese organizers have determined that people living abroad will not be allowed to volunteer at the Games in principle as part of precautions against the spread of the Covid-19 disease.
About 10% of the approximately 80,000 Olympic Games volunteers are foreign nationals, the organizing committee stressed before the games were suspended a year ago.
The government will consider how to allow the entry of volunteers from abroad whose roles are difficult to replace with someone living in Japan, such as those who are able to speak minority languages.
The nationwide Olympic torch relay race will begin Thursday in northeastern Fukushima prefecture, despite the health crisis, to build momentum ahead of the July 23 Olympic opening ceremony.
The organizing committee had estimated that ticket sales would help boost the economy from a coronavirus-induced recession.
Photo © Tokyo 2020