The Japanese government will host the Tokyo Olympics this summer, but will not allow foreign fans to cheer for fear of Covid-19.

Associated Kyodo March 9 quoted government officials as saying that Japan has made the final decision, and is only waiting for the time to announce the decision.

This is a difficult step for the organizers of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2021 after weeks of meetings due to public pressure. The Japanese public is worried that foreigners entering Vietnam will bring epidemics, especially when a new strain of Covid-19 has appeared. Before that, Japan had expected to welcome about 1 million foreign spectators to the Olympics.

Prohibit foreign fans coming to see a measure to help Japan reduce the risk of a Covid-19 outbreak when hosting this summer's 2021 Olympics.  Photo: Reuters

Prohibit foreign fans coming to see a measure to help Japan reduce the risk of a Covid-19 outbreak when hosting this summer’s 2021 Olympics. Image: Reuters

Kyodo often get news directly from the government, before it is made public. According to the agency, it is not known how many Japanese viewers will be allowed to watch the Summer Olympics live. The exact number will be released by the end of April.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is believed to have requested an entry exception for sponsors and members of the IOC abroad.

Since December 2020, Japan has banned foreign tourists from entering the country in an effort to control the disease. The ban was then renewed from March and is expected to extend one week before the Olympic torch relay. In the first two months of this year, the number of Covid-19 infections rose to a record high in Japan, prompting Tokyo officials to declare a state of emergency. The country’s vaccination campaign takes place more slowly than other countries.

According to the latest survey of Kyodo, 80% of Japanese people want to reschedule or cancel the 2021 Olympics completely. However, the organizers are still promoting preparations and readiness for the torch relay event in May. Ms. Kane Tanaka – 118 years old and the oldest person in the world right now – was chosen to carry the Olympic torch on a journey. She will pass the torch through her home province, Fukuoka.

Because of Covid-19, the Olympics were postponed from last summer to this year. Japan has invested 10,000 billion yen (about $ 9.2 billion) to build infrastructure for the Olympics. Olympic 2021 is scheduled to open on July 23. If the event takes place, this will be a rare Olympics where the proportion of male and female athletes is almost equal. According to the IOC, 49% of athletes are female. With the Paralympic Games, the difference is even greater, only about 40.5% female.

It is expected that more than 11,000 athletes from more than 200 countries and regions, 4,000 Paralympic athletes, thousands of employees, support team, coaches, media … will participate in the 2021 Olympics. Olympic has released a 33-page guidebook, outlining the rules against Covid-19 for athletes prior to the competition date.

Thuy Lien (follow Forbes)


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