Tokyo Games Organizers Considering No Spectators For Olympics

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The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Pool sits empty, and may stay that way through the Games if no spectators are permitted - Photo Courtesy: Tokyo2020

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Tokyo Games Organizers Considering No Spectators For Olympics

The Japanese government and organizers of the upcoming scheduled Olympic Games have started weighing the option of holding an Olympics with no spectators on the assumption that Tokyo and the rest of the world may not successfully bring infections under control by July, officials said earlier this month, according to a story from Japanese agency Kyodo News.

“We have been doing all kinds of simulations. Basically, I don’t think (the games without fans) is something that would happen or something that I would like to do, but it won’t be a simulation unless we think about it,” Yoshiro Mori told reporters in Tokyo after holding a remote meeting with International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach.

Mori and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga have insisted that Japan will host a “safe and secure” Olympics in six months by implementing numerous anti-virus steps to protect the health of those involved, according to Kyodo.

The government is considering three options for Tokyo 2021:

  • not imposing a limit on spectators
  • placing a ceiling of 50 percent of the venues’ capacity
  • holding events behind closed doors, according to the officials.

A decision on spectators is expected to come by the end of the spring.

IOC President Thomas Bach last week downplayed rumors that the Olympics were being cancelled, after being postponed to 2021 after the COVID-19 pandemic proved near impossible to hold them last summer in 2020.

The IOC responded by stating it had full confidence in the measures introduced by the Japanese authorities and that it was “fully concentrated and committed to the safe and successful delivery of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 this summer.”

Sir Keith Mills, the deputy chairman of the London Organising Committee for the 2012 Olympic Games, said on Tuesday he felt it was unlikely the Games would go ahead.

However, Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga has insisted Tokyo 2021 will be held as scheduled as “proof that humanity defeated the coronavirus.”

On Thursday, January 21 – two days ahead of the six-month countdown of the scheduled opening on 23 July – Bach said he too was confident, telling Japanese news agency Kyodo News:

“We have at this moment, no reason whatsoever to believe that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will not open on the 23rd of July in the Olympic stadium in Tokyo.

“This is why there is no plan B and this is why we are fully committed to make these games safe and successful.”

Japan, with a population of around 126 million, plans to start coronavirus vaccinations by late February, beginning with medical staff. It is set to receive 310 million vaccine doses from Pfizer Inc., Moderna Inc. and AstraZeneca Plc., enough for 157 million people. As of right now, the IOC is not requiring qualified athletes to be vaccinated ahead of the Games.