Things are becoming clearer for the Tokyo Olympics. Due to the pandemic, the organizers of the 2020 Games planned for this summer would finally lean for the ban of spectators coming from abroad, to leave room only for the locals. In any case, this is what Japanese media indicated on Thursday, when a final decision had to be taken by the end of March at the latest.
Officials fear that an influx of foreign visitors could endanger the Japanese public, who are very reluctant to hold the Games. “As the spread of the coronavirus continues in all countries, they have decided that allowing the arrival of foreign visitors on a large scale will only make people anxious,” Yomiuri said.
Already 900,000 tickets sold outside Japan
The safety of the Japanese “is the priority,” the president of the organizing committee Seiko Hashimoto told reporters on Wednesday after meeting with officials from the International Olympic Committee, the Japanese government and the city of Tokyo. Stakeholders have agreed to make a decision by the end of the month, ideally before the start of the Olympic Torch Relay on March 25 in Japan.
But statements from organizers before and after Wednesday’s talks suggest that overseas spectators will be kept away from the event. Thomas Bach, the president of the IOC had announced last week a probable decision at the end of April or the beginning of May concerning the public coming from abroad, but Mrs. Hashimoto estimated Wednesday that the supporters, the hotels and the tour operators should be informed sooner. It’s not as if 900,000 tickets for the event have already been sold outside of Japan.