Tokyo governor says spectatorless Olympics should be considered as option

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TOKYO – Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said on Friday that holding the Olympics without spectators should be considered one of the main options, as the capital continues to face an increase in coronavirus cases with just three weeks before the opening of the world sporting event.

Appearing at a press conference for the first time since being released from hospital on Wednesday after a week of treatment for severe fatigue, Koike reiterated that the games organizers will need to revisit the current spectator policy if the Coronavirus situation is worsening in Tokyo. .

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike first attends a press conference at metropolitan government headquarters on July 2, 2021, after being treated in a hospital for severe fatigue. (Kyodo) == Kyodo

Seiko Hashimoto, chair of the Tokyo Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, said in a separate press conference that organizers were “prepared” to move forward without fans in the stands if the government moved forward. place such a policy after analyzing the infection situation.

Currently, the organizers allow up to 10,000 people at each Olympic venue. The games begin July 23.

“I don’t know what will happen to the infection situation which changes from day to day, but the organizing committee will be ready (to organize the matches) without spectators and can correspond to any policies that may be posted” , Hashimoto mentioned.

The committee and four other organizing bodies for the Olympic and Paralympic Games decided at the end of last month that venues can be filled to 50% of their capacity with a maximum of 10,000 spectators, agreeing that the policy will be reviewed if the situation of coronavirus pandemic is worsening.

The number of daily infections in Tokyo has increased since the lifting of the state of emergency last month, and the government seemed to have no choice but to extend a near-state of emergency covering the capital which must expire on July 11.

The five organizing bodies, including the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese government, could meet as early as Thursday to discuss the best way to deal with local spectators, said a source familiar with the matter.

Organizers, who have already banned the participation of foreign spectators, will meet if the current near-state of emergency in the capital and other areas is prolonged, according to the source.

A no-spectator in-camera coverage option is a possibility on the table, while another option sets the cap at 5,000.

Some officials have launched the idea of ​​prohibiting spectators from certain nocturnal events and some in large venues with more than 5,000 tickets sold.

The ceiling of 10,000 spectators was set on the assumption that the current quasi-state of emergency has been lifted.

In the context of measures a little lighter than the state of emergency, the number of people authorized during sporting events and other major events is limited to 50% of the capacity of the sites with an upper limit of 5,000 people.

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