Tokyo 2020 Organisers Ban Fans From Olympics

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Tokyo 2020 Olympics organisers have bowed to political pressure and rising COVID-19 infections and banned almost all fans from the Games just two weeks before they start, after insisting that they could go ahead with spectators.

Organisers announced the decision to ban fans from Tokyo venues on Thursday as a resurgent coronavirus forced Japan to declare a state of emergency in the capital that will run throughout the Olympic Games

The decision, made after Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced a fourth state of emergency for the capital, all but robs the Olympic Games of their last hope for a magnificent ceremony and spectacle.

Japanese Health Minister Norihisa Tamura said he felt sorry for athletes but that the decision was the right one.

“Please stay at home for this Olympics, and share that excitement with families at home,” Tamura told a news conference.

The Olympic Games, postponed from last year, are scheduled to run from July 23 to August 8. Opinion polls in Japan have consistently shown the Japanese public is worried about going ahead with the Games during a pandemic.

Medical experts have said for weeks that having no spectators would be the least risky option, amid widespread public fears that an influx of tens of thousands of athletes and officials would fuel a fresh wave of infections.

Chidi Nwoke/Reuters.

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