News ID: 291469
Published: 0143 GMT March 09, 2021

Japan to stage Tokyo Olympics without foreign spectators: Kyodo

Japan to stage Tokyo Olympics without foreign spectators: Kyodo

Japan has decided to stage this summer’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics without overseas spectators due to concern among the Japanese public about COVID-19, Kyodo News said on Tuesday, citing officials with knowledge of the matter.

Kyodo said the government had 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, Kyodo cited the officials as saying, Reuters reported.

The opening ceremony will also be held without spectators, Kyodo said.

“The organizing committee has decided it is essential to hold the ceremony in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima behind closed doors, only permitting participants and invitees to take part in the event, to avoid large crowds forming amid the pandemic,” Kyodo said, quoting the officials.

The government and the Japanese organizing committee of the Games are expected to hold a remote meeting with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and two other bodies later this month to make a formal decision on the issue of overseas visitors.

 “In terms of spectators there will be a decision towards the end of March, at least regarding international spectators,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams told a virtual news conference.

“Beyond that it is too difficult to say.”

Most Japanese do not want international visitors to attend the Games which are due to open in July amid fears that a large influx of visitors could spark a resurgence of novel coronavirus infections, a Yomiuri newspaper poll showed.

The survey showed 77 percent of respondents were against allowing foreign fans to attend, versus 18 percent in favor.

Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto has said she wants a decision on whether to let in overseas spectators before the start of the Torch Relay on March 25.

The Olympics, postponed by a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, are scheduled for July 23 to Aug. 8 and the Paralympics from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5.




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