Tokyo 2020 facing threat of spectator ban, says Japanese prime minister
Japan may ban spectators from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics if the country’s Covid-19 situation worsens, prime minister Yoshihide Suga has warned.
Holding this summer’s delayed Games behind closed doors was “definitely a possibility”, Suga said.
“I think that’s obvious from the standpoint of making safety and security our utmost priority.”
Japan has been slow to roll out Covid-19 vaccines and Tokyo was in a state of emergency until yesterday. National opinions polls have consistently shown majority opposition to staging the Games this year.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are due to run from 23 July until 8 August. The Paralympic Games are scheduled for 24 August to 5 September.
Tokyo 2020 organisers are set to make an announcement today on the number of spectators that will be allowed.
The government has already declared a limit of 10,000 people or 50 per cent of capacity, whichever is lower, for events in prefectures not under emergency measures.
A state of emergency in Tokyo was lifted on Sunday, but the city remains subject to restrictions.
The government’s leading Covid-19 advisor last week said that banning spectators was the safest option.