Japan ‘yes’ to 10,000 fans for Games


10000 fan limit confirmed for Tokyo Olympics Image: paralympic.org

On Monday, Olympic organizers decided to cap the spectators’ number at 10,000 for each venue of the 2020 Tokyo Games, days after experts warned that holding the event without fans was the least risky option during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ‘IOC’ stated that on June 21st, the five parties, namely the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG), and the Government of Japan (GoJ) met to discuss spectator limits for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The IOC and IPC were informed about and supported the policies the three Japanese parties have decided on.

The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – the most spectacular sporting showpiece on earth – will be celebrated from July 23rd to August 8th, 2021. The Paralympic Games will be held from August 24th, 2021 to September 5th, 2021.

The 2020 Summer Olympics, officially the Games of the XXXII Olympiad, and also known as Tokyo 2020, is an upcoming international multisport event to be held in Tokyo, Japan.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is a not-for-profit, civil, non-Governmental, international organization made up of volunteers which is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 percent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day the equivalent of USD 3.4 million goes to help athletes and sports organizations at all levels around the world.

Bonn (Germany)-headquartered the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is an international non-profit organization and the global governing body for the Paralympic Movement. The IPC organizes the Paralympic Games and functions as the international federation for nine sports.

The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games is the organization responsible for overseeing the planning and development of the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is the Government of the Tokyo Metropolis. One of the 47 prefectures of Japan, the Government consists of a popularly elected Governor and assembly. The headquarters building is located in the ward of Shinjuku.

The ‘IOC’ further stated that the main decisions taken are as follows:

  • In light of the Government’s restrictions on public events, the spectator limit for the Olympic Games will be set at “50 percent of venue capacity, up to a maximum of 10,000 people” at all venues. (Students in the schools’ spectator program and their supervisors will not be considered in these numbers, and will be treated separately as they are not spectators.);
  • The current competition schedule remains unchanged. In principle, spectators will be admitted to events subject to the above limits;
  • However, in the event that a state of emergency or other priority measures aimed at preventing infection are implemented at any time after July 12th, 2021, restrictions on spectator numbers at the Games, including non-spectator competitions, will be based on the content of the state of emergency or other relevant measures in force at that time;
  • In the event of any rapid change in infection status and in the capacity of the medical care system, a five-party meeting will be held promptly to consider further measures;
  • The Japanese parties have formulated guidelines for spectators aimed at ensuring safe and secure environments. These stipulate that masks should be worn in venues at all times, speaking in a loud voice or shouting will be prohibited, congestion should be avoided by means of appropriate announcements, and visitors should leave venues in a staggered manner. Spectators will be requested to travel directly to venues and return home directly, and to take all necessary precautions when moving between prefectures;
  • Given the COVID-19 situation, the Japanese parties intend to look into either canceling or reducing the scale of any live sites and public viewing events to minimize the movement of people, review any other Games-related events and establish new safe and secure ways of cheering and supporting the athletes;
  • A framework will be implemented to keep monitoring the status of infections and medical care using expert advice;
  • Consistent and unified messages aimed at ensuring safe and secure Games by the five parties will be delivered; and
  • The equivalent policies governing the Paralympic Games will be decided by July 16th, 2021, a week before the opening of the Olympic Games.

In order to conduct safe and secure Games for the whole of Japan, there will be strong coordination and cooperation with local Governments to ensure the above guidelines are followed.

The situation will be monitored in Japan and abroad, including the status of the different variants of coronavirus, and all necessary action will be taken promptly. Vaccination of those involved with the Games will continue, and the vaccination status will be further updated.

There are 32 days to go until the Olympic Games. There are 64 days to go until the Paralympic Games. The five parties will continue to work together to ensure safe and secure Games for all.

Against all odds

The ‘Gulf News’ stated that the decision, widely seen as being on the cards following statements by organizers and Government medical advisers, highlights Japan’s push to hold the multibillion-dollar sports extravaganza despite public opposition and deep concern about a resurgence in infections as COVID-19 variants’ threat looms large over several parts of the globe which includes Japan.

Japan has largely avoided the kind of devastation coronavirus outbreaks have caused in other countries which includes the most developed economies of the world, but its vaccine rollout has been slow and the medical system pushed to the brink in some places.

The ‘Gulf News’ further stated that Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto had previously said she was eyeing a cap of 10,000 people per venue. Spectators from overseas have already been banned.

Before the meeting, IOC President Thomas Bach said the vaccination rate for athletes and officials residing in the Olympic Village was now “well above 80 per cent”, exceeding the IOC’s initial expectations.

Japanese Olympic Minister Tamayo Marukawa urged the IOC to keep disclosing vaccination rates of all Olympic visitors from overseas, including those staying outside the Olympic Village.

Added Marukawa, “In the interest of putting the public’s mind at ease, we’d like to continue to ask the IOC to proactively make public the vaccination rate of Olympics officials that will be arriving from overseas.”

Earlier on Monday, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said he would not rule out holding the Summer Olympics sans spectators if the capital was under a state of emergency for COVID-19.

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