Tokyo Olympics: Japan Seeks To Keep Foreign Spectators Away

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Japan has decided to stage this summer’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics without overseas spectators due to public concern about COVID-19, two government sources with knowledge of the matter said.

The Olympics, postponed by a year because of the pandemic, are scheduled for July 23 to August 8 and the Paralympics from August 24 to September 5. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has said a decision on spectators would be made by the end of March.

The government has concluded that welcoming fans from abroad would not be possible given public concern about the coronavirus and the detection of more contagious variants in many countries, the people said, declining to be identified because the information is not public.

The Tokyo organising committee said a decision would be made based on “factors including the state of infections in Japan and other countries, possible epidemic-prevention measures, and expert scientific advice.”

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto has said she wants a decision made on before the start of the torch relay on whether to allow overseas spectators.

While coronavirus infection numbers have been relatively low in Japan compared with the United States and many European countries, the country has been hit hard by the third wave of the pandemic and Tokyo remains under a state of emergency.

Japan has recorded more than 441,200 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic and more than 8,300 deaths.


Chidi Nwoke/Reuters.