Tokyo 2020: Japan to stage Olympics without overseas spectators, says Kyodo news agency
Kyodo news agency says Japanese government has concluded that welcoming fans from abroad would not be possible; formal decision expected by end of month; Olympics set for July 23 to August 8; opening ceremony to be held behind closed doors; Paralympics run from August 24 to September 5
Last Updated: 06/04/21 9:48am
Japan's government has decided to stage this summer's Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics without overseas spectators due to concern among the Japanese public about Covid-19, Kyodo news agency said on Tuesday.
Kyodo said the government had concluded that welcoming visitors from abroad to attend events would not be possible given public concern about the coronavirus and the detection of more contagious variants in many countries.
The opening ceremony will also be held without spectators.
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"The organising committee has decided it is essential to hold the ceremony in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima behind closed doors, only permitting participants and invitees to take part in the event, to avoid large crowds forming amid the pandemic," Kyodo said, quoting the officials.
A formal decision on overseas spectators is expected to be made by the end of the month. The Olympics are set for July 23 to August 8, with the Paralympics to follow from August 24 to September 5.
Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto said last week she would like to have made a decision before March 25, when the torch relay is due to start.
A decision on the number of Japanese spectators allowed in venues is expected to be made by the end of April.
Most Japanese people do not want international visitors to attend the Games amid fears that a large influx of visitors could spark a resurgence of infections, a Yomiuri newspaper poll showed.
The survey showed 77 per cent of respondents were against allowing foreign fans to attend, versus 18 per cent in favour.
Sky Sports News has contacted both Tokyo 2020 organisers and the International Olympic Committee for a response to Kyodo's report and if a decision may be made earlier than previously stated.