Tokyo 2021 Olympics: Japan’s new Olympic chief bats for crowd presence at Tokyo 2021- Despite concerns about hosting the Tokyo 2021 Olympics in Japan amid a global pandemic, the country’s new Olympic president said the games should have spectators like other sports.
Seiko Hashimoto, who became the Tokyo 2020 president last week, said that the games should have limited numbers of spectators in the stands. However, any final decision will not be taken anytime soon as authorities are closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When we think about the possibility of holding the Olympics without fans in the stands, athletes will definitely wonder why there are no fans just for the Olympics and Paralympics when other competitions are allowing in spectators,” Hashimoto told Japanese Asahi Shimbun newspaper.
“Everyone wants an early decision about the direction to be taken regarding fans to prepare tickets and hotel accommodations,” she said. Hashimoto, a seven-time Olympian, replaced 83-year-old Yoshiro Mori last week. Mori stepped down after he was criticized for making sexist remarks about women.
She made the comments after Japanese officials took steps to loosen the restrictions on international travellers coming to Japan. With Tokyo under a state of emergency due to a rising number of COVID-19 cases, international travellers were banned from entering the city.
However, with the new number of infections slowing down, the emergency could end on March 7. That would allow Olympic test events to begin from April despite the Japanese public’s scepticism about the urgency of the games and the safety of athletes. As per a recent poll, around 80% of Japanese people want the Olympics to be cancelled or further postponed. The summer games were scheduled for 2020 but it was postponed by a year due to the pandemic.
“Support for holding the Olympics will not increase until we can eliminate various issues of concern concerning the novel coronavirus pandemic, including the serious strain being placed on the medical care structure,” Hashimoto said.