Local spectators will be allowed to attend the Tokyo Olympics despite fears surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, officials said on Monday.
Venues will be limited to 50% of their capacity, with up to 10,000 domestic fans able to attend the events when the games open next month, officials of the organizing committee and the International Olympic Committee said on Monday.
Although Japanese officials continue to warn that they could exclude all spectators from the games if the pandemic worsens, the 50% announcement suggests that organizers are moving forward with plans to hold the games in front of the crowd, in the face of criticism from some doctors. officials.
The decision was made by all five parties involved in organizing the games: the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Government of Japan.
If other government measures are implemented to prevent the spread of the virus, the number of spectators allowed on gaming sites could be changed, according to the statement released by the five parties.
The decision is at odds with the country’s top medical adviser, who recommended last week that the safest way to host the Olympics would be without fans. Dr Shigeru Omi had previously described the holding of the Olympic Games during the pandemic as “abnormal”.
In addition to limits on the number of spectators, organizers said masks should be worn at all times at game venues and that shouting and speaking loudly would be prohibited.
International fans were not allowed to travel to Japan for this summer’s Olympics in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The games, which were originally scheduled to take place in 2020, have been postponed until this summer and are scheduled to open on July 23. However, questions have arisen as to how Japan will prevent further outbreaks of the coronavirus.
Tokyo and other regions are currently under “near emergency” status until July 11. This replaced a stricter state of emergency that was in effect until last weekend.
Organizers say between 3.6 and 3.7 million tickets are in the hands of Japanese residents.
NBC Universal, which is the parent company of NBC News, owns the US media rights to the upcoming Olympics.
Arata Yamamoto and The Associated Press contributed.