The Tokyo Olympic venues will not have spectators; The games will take place under the state of emergency

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The announcement was made following a meeting of five Olympic and Japanese government groups responsible for the Games.

Japanese Olympic Committee Seiko Hashimoto said that due to the pandemic, organizers had “no choice but to hold the Games on a limited basis.”

According to an IOC spokesperson, it is unprecedented that venues in a host city do not have spectators.

There are a total of 42 sites listed on the Tokyo 2020 website. Twenty-five are in Tokyo and the rest are in seven other prefectures.

However, three prefectures close to Tokyo – Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama – will not have spectators at Olympic competition venues, according to Hashimoto.

Miyagi, Fukushima and Shizuoka prefectures have decided that venues can be filled to 50% of their capacity with a maximum of 10,000 spectators, Hashimoto added.

Asked by reporters if stakeholders would have access to the venues, Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and leaders of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) would not be counted as spectators and would continue to have access to the sites. because they have “roles to play during the Games”.

Muto said those members will need to have accreditation to gain access to the sites.

Tokyo 2020 organizers will review the decision to allow stakeholders to enter the Olympic stadium during the opening ceremony on July 23, according to Hashimoto.

Earlier Thursday, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshide Suga confirmed that the Games would be held under a state of emergency.

“The number of infected cases in the region, including Tokyo, has increased since the end of last month,” said Suga, speaking at the start of the meeting of the government task force on Covid-19.

The new state of emergency for the capital will run from July 12 to August 22, covering the entire 16 days of the besieged Games.

“The number of severe cases and the bed occupancy rate remain low, but given the impact of the variants, we need to strengthen the countermeasures so that the infection does not spread nationwide,” Suga added.

Suga added that the ban on serving alcohol in restaurants will continue during the state of emergency.

The spectators’ decision comes as Tokyo reported 920 new infections for Wednesday – the highest daily case count since mid-May.

“There is a remarkable increase in infections, especially in major cities in the Tokyo region,” said Yasutoshi Nishimura, the minister in charge of the country’s response to the pandemic. The more infectious Delta variant now accounts for up to 30% of cases, he added.

The state of emergency – the fourth in the Japanese capital since the start of the pandemic – will cover the entire period of the Olympics, which are scheduled to run from July 23 to August 8.

Last month, Olympic organizers said spectators would be allowed at the Games, with a cap of 10,000 people per venue or 50% of venues capacity. The organizers had already decided to ban foreign supporters from the stands in March.
Olympic volunteers wanted to help out at the Games.  They did not register for the Covid
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IOC President Thomas Bach landed in Tokyo on Thursday morning and is observing three-day self-isolation at his hotel.

The spectator ban could be a big disappointment for some athletes.

Athletic climber Akiyo Noguchi said she derives tremendous power from performing in front of a large crowd, and creating that motivation and energy will be more difficult without the cheers from the stands.

“I feel very sad. I wanted to participate in the Olympics because I wanted to show my best performance in front of my family and my supporters, but it will not be in the form that I imagined,” she told CNN before.

Tokyo lifted its previous state of emergency cycle on June 20, at the end of the country’s fourth wave of infections. He continued to impose restrictions as part of a milder “near-emergency” such as an 8 p.m. curfew on food service in restaurants. But cases have risen again, prompting health experts to call for tougher measures.
Japan has lagged behind Western countries in the deployment of its vaccination campaign. According to CNN’s Global Vaccine Tracking System, only 15% of its population is fully vaccinated, compared to 47% in the US and almost 50% in the UK.

CNN’s Selina Wang contributed reporting.

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