TOKYO – The organizers of the Tokyo Olympic Games decided this Thursday to hold the tests without an audience in the stands due to the spike in infections in the capital, and after reversing the measure announced two weeks ago of having up to 10,000 spectators in the installations.
The Japanese minister in charge of the Games, Tamayo Marukawa, announced this unprecedented restriction at an Olympic event after the meeting held on Thursday between the heads of the organization and representatives of the international Olympic and Paralympic committees.
The decision to veto the presence of spectators in Tokyo is made shortly after Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced the application of a new state of health emergency due to coronavirus in the capital, which will coincide with the head of the organizing committee, Seiko Hashimoto, He stated during the meeting that to prevent an expansion of infections “it is necessary to send a strong and clear message”, and pointed out that those responsible for the event had to “make a difficult decision.”
IOC President Thomas Bach said that the organizers “have shown responsibility since the day the Games were postponed,” and stated that he would support “whatever measures are necessary to hold a safe Olympic and Paralympic Games for the Japanese people and all participants. “
Bach participated in the meeting telematically after arriving in Tokyo this Thursday and while observing a three-day quarantine in his hotel during before attending the final stretch of preparations for the Games, which are scheduled to open on the 23rd.
On June 21, the organizers announced that the Games would be held with a maximum of 10,000 spectators in the stands, although they indicated that they reserved the option of having the competitions go behind closed doors in case of spikes in infections.
That measure went against the recommendations of the experts, who warned that the movement of people that the Games will bring together with the circulation of new variants of the virus would pose an excessive risk, so they recommended holding the event without an audience.
The decision affects Tokyo and three other neighboring prefectures that will host the bulk of the competitions, in addition to Hokkaido (north), although according to the Minister for the Games, the public could be allowed in other venues located in Shizuoka, Fukushima and Miyagi, which will host sports such as cycling, baseball or soccer.
The organizers, who also decided months ago to veto foreign visitors from entering the country during the Games, had planned to earn about 800 million dollars (670 million euros) from the sale of tickets for the Games. with the celebration of the Games, which will coincide with the celebration of the Games.