Japan will limit the number of spectators at the Olympics to 50 percent of the stadium’s capacity to a maximum of 10,000 people, a move that goes against the country’s official medical advice.
The decision to go ahead with spectators at the Games, even though most of the Japanese public will not be vaccinated against Covid-19, indicates that Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is willing to risk some additional infections in order to Presenting a successful Olympiad.
It represents a rejection of a request last week by Shigeru Omi, the doctor who is leading Japan’s response to Covid-19, to Olympic organizers behind closed doors.
“We have prepared for the past eight years and we would like to make these Games a success,” Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto said at a press conference on Monday.
She said there have been many examples of spectators attending sporting events during the pandemic, both in Japan and abroad, and she insisted the event can be held in safety.
Last week, Omi warned that the televised scene of stadiums full of spectators will happen Send a contradictory message To the Japanese public that it is safe to ease their precautions against Covid-19.
Ohmi said that if the Olympics are held with spectators, there should be stricter restrictions than those of other sporting events, and they should be restricted to Tokyo residents to avoid an overload of travellers.
But while regulators appeared to be turning down Omi’s requests, they said the rules could be changed if the coronavirus situation worsens.
“If the state of emergency is implemented at any time after July 12, the restrictions on the numbers of spectators will depend on the content of the state of emergency,” Hashimoto said. That could mean keeping games behind closed doors.
The state of emergency was lifted in Tokyo and other large cities in Japan over the weekend, as the number of new COVID-19 cases across the country reached about 1,500 per day. Doctors are concerned about a new wave of the disease, especially as the delta variant is becoming more prevalent.
The Olympics are scheduled to begin on July 23. Japan has so far given the first dose of the vaccine Sixteen out of 100 Persons, prioritizing medical personnel and then the elderly.
Hashimoto said that only one in ten Olympic events will be affected, with a maximum capacity of 10,000. This will include the athletics finals at the Olympic Stadium.
Restricting the numbers of spectators means a A financial blow to the organizers. Hashimoto said ticket revenue would be less than half of the 90 billion yen ($820 million) budget.
She said the regulators, the city of Tokyo and the Japanese government would discuss how to bridge the budget gap. However, according to the contracts on which the games are based, the burden will likely fall on the Tokyo taxpayers.