The Tokyo Olympics will go ahead with local spectators after organisers, the International Olympic Committee and Japan’s government agreed on a cap of 10,000 fans at events.
- Games venues will be limited to 50 per cent capacity
- Spectators will have to wear masks at all times and they cannot shout or cheer
- The Games are set to open on July 23
Olympic officials, in a joint statement, said spectators would have to wear masks at all times and could not shout or cheer, although clapping would be allowed.
Venues will be limited to 50 per cent capacity.
“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 statement read.
Spectators travelling from overseas had already been banned at the Games.
Organisers are expected to soon detail how they intend to safely hold the events with spectators at the Games, which will open on July 23.
The decision, widely seen as being on the cards following statements by organisers and government medical advisers, highlights Japan’s push to hold the Olympics despite public opposition.
Public health experts have raised concerns that allowing spectators at the Olympics could trigger a rebound in infections across Tokyo, which has only just had a state of emergency lifted.
Japan’s top medical adviser, Shigeru Omi, recommended last week that the safest way to hold the Olympics would be without fans.
Dr Omi had previously called it “abnormal” to hold the Olympics during the pandemic.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who has favoured allowing spectators at Olympic events, said before the official announcement that he would bar fans if conditions changed.
“If a state of emergency is necessary, I will be flexible and open to no fans in order to achieve that the Games give top priority to safety and security for the people,” he said.
“In case of a state of emergency, it is quite possible … for [a] safe and secure [Games] I will not hesitate to have no fans.”
Japan’s public remains opposed to holding the Games, according to a poll taken from June 19 to 20 by the Asahi News Network.
The poll found 65 per cent of respondents wanted the event postponed again or cancelled.
Nearly 70 per cent of respondents said they thought the Games would not be held safely and securely, as advocated by the government and Olympic organisers.