Tokyo Olympics Won't Have Spectators amid State of Emergency, Prime Minister Says

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 8, 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

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced Thursday that no fans will be permitted to attend events at the upcoming 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Per CNN's Emiko Jozuka, Suga announced earlier in the day that the Olympics would occur under a state of emergency because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to CNN's Junko Ogura, Chie Kobayashi and Nectar Gan, Suga said:

"The number of infected cases in the area including Tokyo has been increasing since the end of last month. The number of severe cases and bed occupancy rate continues to be on the low level, but considering the impact of variants, we need to enhance countermeasures so that the infection will not spread nationwide."

Yoshifumi Takemoto and Ju-min Park of Reuters reported Wednesday that a state of emergency was likely forthcoming because of a recent surge in COVID-19 cases in the Japanese capital.

Per Takemoto and Park, 920 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Tokyo on Wednesday, the highest daily total since May 13.

Japan already imposed a ban on foreign spectators and had been planning to allow domestic fans to attend events at 50 percent capacity with a cap of 10,000 spectators.

Takemoto and Park reported that a slow vaccine rollout in Japan has resulted in only 25 percent of the population receiving at least one shot, and top Japanese government health adviser Shigeru Omi said it would be "preferable" for the Olympics to be held without fans.

The Summer Games were originally scheduled to be held last year, but they were pushed back because of the COVID-19 pandemic. There had been discussion about canceling the Games, but the decision was made to go through with the Summer Olympics in 2021.

The Opening Ceremony is set for July 23 at Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.