Report: Japan Considering Banning Spectators from Tokyo Olympics Due to COVID-19

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 7, 2021

UNIVERSAL CITY, CALIFORNIA - JULY 03: NBC Olympics launches "Rings Across America" Tour life-size set of iconic Olympic Rings at Universal Studios Hollywood on July 03, 2021 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Spectators reportedly may be banned from the upcoming 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo due to a potential COVID-19-related state of emergency being called.

According to Yoshifumi Takemoto and Ju-min Park of Reuters, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the government will decide Thursday on measures to further prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Among the options expected to be discussed is whether domestic spectators will be banned from attending Olympic events. It was already announced previously that no overseas spectators will be permitted to attend the Olympic Games.

Per Takemoto and Park, debate about spectators at the Olympics comes on the heels of 920 new COVID-19 cases being reported in Tokyo on Wednesday. That is Tokyo's highest daily total since May 13.

The spike comes as only about 25 percent of the country's population has gotten at least one vaccination shot so far.

As of now, the plan calls for Olympic venues to be no more than 50 percent full for events, with a cap of 10,000 fans.

The Tokyo Games were originally scheduled to be held last year, but they were postponed until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Until recently, there remained some question regarding whether the Olympics would be held or canceled altogether.

According to Takemoto and Park, top Japanese government health adviser Shigeru Omi recently said it would be "preferable" for the Olympics to be held without fans, noting that having fans in attendance would send a "contradictory message."

The opening ceremony for the 2021 Summer Games is set for July 23 at Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.

While the stadium has a capacity of 68,000, no more than 10,000 fans will be allowed to be present for the opening ceremony provided fans aren't banned completely.