Video source: YouTube, Good Morning America
Amid declining COVID-19 infections and continued vaccination efforts, Japanese officials may allow domestic spectators at the upcoming Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
On Wednesday, The Asahi Shimbun reported that the Japanese government and 2020 games organizers could decide by June 20, when the current state of emergency in Tokyo is due to expire.
An unnamed government sources told the newspaper that fans would be allowed in the stands because “the athletes will not be able to give their best performance with zero spectators.”
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and other Japanese officials have pointed out that professional baseball and soccer games have been held under the current limit of 50% capacity.
“The discussion about having no spectators is over and now the main avenue of consideration is how many we can allow,” another official told Kyodo News.
Spectators from abroad have already been prohibited from attending the Games, which are set to open on July 23.
A state of emergency has been in effect since April in several prefectures, including Tokyo, as the country tries to contain a “fourth wave” of the virus.
Despite concerns from the professional medical community and by Japanese citizens that the international sporting event could lead to more infections and overwhelm an already stressed healthcare system, Suga’s administration and the International Olympic Committee have insisted that the Games can be held safely and securely.
The Olympics were postponed by a year due to concerns over how organizers can keep athletes, officials, volunteers and the public safe.
Since the onset of the pandemic, Japan has recorded 766,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and nearly 14,000 virus-related fatalities. Only about 3.9% of the country’s population is fully vaccinated, according to The New York Times.
Source: Equities News