• Sat. Oct 29th, 2022

Organizers have also warned they could revisit the decision if the coronavirus infection situation changes dramatically.

Jun 21, 2021

But organizers also warned they could still ban spectators entirely if the situation with coronavirus infections deteriorates dramatically before the Games begin on July 23.
We acknowledge that theres uncertainty on the situation with the pandemic during the Games, so we need to be very flexible, said Seiko Hashimoto, president of the organizing committee.
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Any abrupt change in the situation, including the declaration of a fresh state of emergency over the period when the Games are taking place, would prompt a reconsideration, she said.
In such a scenario, all the options, including no spectator games, will be examined by the stakeholders.
Earlier Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said he would prefer to see fans in the stands but said if the pandemic situation worsens, banning any from attending is definitely a possibility.
Organizers banned spectators coming from abroad back in March. The decision to allow in limited numbers of domestic fans is controversial, given that governments own scientific advisers warned last week that allowing anyone into venues would increase covid risks in Japan, where vaccination rates remain low among people under 65.
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But the restrictions will leave many ticket holders disappointed, after tickets were initially allocated in a series of fiercely competitive domestic lotteries.
Organizers say they have sold tickets for an average of 42 percent of venue capacity, but exact proportions varies widely across events. In fact, Hashimoto said existing ticket sales only exceed the cap for around 10 percent of events.
For these events, likely to include the opening and closing ceremonies and popular track and field events in the Olympic Stadium, a fresh lottery will be held to allocate tickets, she said.
In cases where ticket sales are below the cap, no new tickets will be placed on sale.
Tokyo Olympics organizers ban spectators from outside Japan in pandemic-control measure
Reports in the Japanese media suggest that attendance at the opening and closing ceremonies in the 68,000-capacity Olympic Stadium could swell to 20,000 given a large allocation of tickets for VIPs and officials.
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Toshiro Muto, CEO of Tokyo 2020, said he was aware of the report, but said he didnt think the final number would be that large.
The governments painfully slow start to its covid vaccination program left organizers with little choice but to limit or ban spectators.
A group of medical experts said last week the least risky and most desirable option would be to ban spectators entirely.
There is a risk the movement of people and opportunities to interact during the Olympics will spread infections and strain the medical system, the experts, led by the governments most senior health adviser Shigeru Omi, said in a report issued on Friday.
If spectators were to be let in, the expert panel recommended a cap below 10,000 and they should not be allowed to travel from other prefectures.
In the end, though, organizers decided to overrule that advice. Japan and the IOC are extremely keen to showcase the Games as a symbol of humankinds victory over the pandemic, an argument that would have been harder to make in empty venues.
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Hashimoto said the Olympics were a symbol of peace and reinforced the need for humankind to work together to overcome challenges.
Organizers have published a voluminous set of playbooks designed to limit infections, with strict rules on how athletes, officials, journalists and spectators are expected to behave, and threatening punishment for rulebreakers.
Spectators, for example, are being asked to go straight from their homes to venues and straight home afterward, and to refrain from cheering or shouting inside venues.
Hashimoto also defended the decision to exempt school groups from the spectator cap, arguing it was important for the younger generation to experience the excitement and emotion of the Games.
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People still talk about what they saw in the first Tokyo Olympics [in 1964], she said. Its a memorable event is and we wanted to offer the same experience to younger children.
The risk, though, is the Games leave behind a deadly legacy of rising infections inside Japan, or that the pandemic undermines the integrity of the sporting competition.
Those risks were sharply underlined on Saturday when a vaccinated member of Ugandas team tested positive for the coronavirus upon arrival in Japan on Saturday.
Ugandas team had all been vaccinated with AstraZeneca shots and tested negative for the virus before departure, Japanese media reported, quoting an unnamed government official.
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The International Olympic Committee says over 80 percent of the 11,090 athletes arriving for the Games have been or will be vaccinated by the time they arrive in the Olympic Village, while between 70 and 80 percent of the journalists and media representatives arriving from abroad will be vaccinated.
But the news from the Ugandan camp will raise concerns this wont be enough to eliminate the risks.
Lets all wait a minute, opposition lawmaker Renho Saito said on Twitter over the weekend. This time, nine people arrived. For the Olympics, 100,000 people will be arriving. This is no time to be talking about how this will be a moving experience for our children.
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Japans covid-19 vaccination drive has finally kicked into gear in recent weeks. So far, around 29 million doses have been delivered, with nearly 17 percent of the population having received at least one vaccine dose. The government hopes to have fully vaccinated almost all over 65s by the end of July.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Suga partially lifted a state of emergency over Tokyo and several other prefectures, after a slowdown in the rate of new infections, but authorities have still left some restrictions in place on restaurants and bars in what they call a quasi state of emergency.
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Caps on spectators have shifted according to the state of the pandemic, with 24,219 fans attending soccers Levain Cup final in Tokyos National Stadium in January.
Before the pandemic, demand for tickets for the Games had been extremely high, with a series of domestic lotteries vastly oversubscribed.
Organizers had sold around 4.45 million Olympics tickets domestically and 600,000 to overseas fans before the Games were postponed, but those numbers have since fallen back.
Organizers received around 810,000 requests for domestic refunds at the end of last year, and in March decided to ban all spectators from overseas, although they have yet to refund them their money.
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