Tokyo Olympics: In some good news for local fans, the Japanese government is considering a decision to allow up to 10,000 spectators at the Tokyo Olympics that begins on July 23. While earlier, the organisers ruled out the possibility of any spectators during the Games, with easing restrictions and reduction in COVID-19 caseload, the government is weighing in on the idea. It will also give them a much-needed financial boost from ticket sales.
As per reports in Nikkei and Kyodo News Agency, the government is considering a cap on spectators at 50% of the venue’s capacity or 10,000 whichever is lower. The brand new Tokyo Olympics venues were in danger of going empty due to the virus surge in the Asian nation, which is currently fighting the fourth wave.
While overseas spectators have already been banned and a cap on overseas officials, the decision could lighten up the mood at the Olympics. However, a decision on the matter will not be before June 20 when the current virus emergency ends in Tokyo.
Tokyo Olympics: As per reports, the Japanese government could continue with a quasi-emergency in place that will see some restrictions including alcohol sales at the bars and limiting opening hours at restaurants.
However, experts including Japan’s top virologist have advised against any large crowds or gatherings during the Olympics as it could see the virus mutate and form different variations which could be more infectious. The Japanese people also have had reservations against hosting the Olympics due to the same reason, especially from UK, India, South Africa and Brazil. The countries have seen increased transmission of the virus due to prevalent more infectious strains of the virus. Apart from that, a slow vaccination rate in Japan has also been responsible for fears amongst its citizens.
Tokyo Olympics: Last week, many schools that wished to participate in the spectator program pulled out due to virus fears. Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics began accepting cancellations from schools no longer wishing to participate in a program that offers students the chance to watch events at nearby venues.
Some local governments close to Tokyo have already opted out of the program because of concerns over coronavirus infections, and with the organizers yet to decide on a cap on spectators, many education boards remain uncertain if students will be able to watch athletes competing in the games.
Hence, even if the organisers increase spectator cap at the venues, it may not see filling all 10,000 seats at the Tokyo Games, especially if the country doesn’t speed up its vaccination programme.