Tokyo Olympics: All Olympic live-viewing events in Tokyo to be canceled, says governor

The Olympic torch relay in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, on Saturday | KYODO
The Olympic torch relay in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, on Saturday | KYODO

Tokyo Olympics: Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said Saturday that all live public viewing events during this summer’s Olympics and Paralympics in the capital will be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Koike said some of the venues planned to be used for the public events will instead be used for COVID-19 vaccinations.

The announcement was made with just about one month to go until the opening of the Tokyo Olympics.

Organizers, government officials and public health experts continue to debate whether spectators should be allowed to attend Olympic events.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has paved the way for the games to have spectators with his government’s decision this week to end the state of emergency on Sunday in the capital.

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But the nation’s top COVID-19 adviser, Shigeru Omi, has stressed that fans shouldn’t be allowed to attend.

Banning all spectators is the safest way to host the Tokyo Games, according to a report published Friday by Omi, chair of the central government’s coronavirus subcommittee, and 25 other experts.

Tokyo Olympics Guidelines: Olympians could be kicked out of Japan for violating COVID-19 rules

Foreign athletes competing at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics could be kicked out of Japan if they violate regulations aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus infections, according to a rulebook released Tuesday.

The third and the newest version of the “playbook” with various COVID-19 countermeasures also said all athletes may face penalties for not complying with them, including a withdrawal of accreditation and the right to participate in the games, as well as facing a fine.

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There may be consequences imposed upon you in the event of a breach of these measures…including procedures for revocation of your permit of stay in Japan,” it said, while noting that some of the steps are under the jurisdiction of Japanese authorities.

Christophe Dubi, the International Olympic Committee’s executive director for the games, said at a press conference that a disciplinary commission will be in charge of deciding on a penalty when a participant infringes the rules.

As for financial sanctions, Dubi said, “There is no number at this point in time.”

What is in the playbook is a range, a range of possibilities. This is to give an overall impression of what could happen in case of sanctions,” he said. “We will not speculate which case will lead to what sanction. This is the role of the commission.

The 69-page rulebook, which was created by organizers with advice from the World Health Organization, specified how and when athletes — whether Japanese or foreign athletes — will be screened for the virus during the games, as well as what will happen if a participant tests positive.