Japan to allow, limit local fans at Olympics

Japan to allow, limit local fans at Olympics
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Olympic organizers announced on Monday that they will allow up to 10,000 local fans, which is 50 percent capacity, to attend the summer games in Tokyo, The Associated Press reported.

The decision was made after discussions with local organizers, the International Olympic Committee, and the Japanese government. 

With their decision, organizers said that they could still ban fans altogether from attending if COVID-19 cases surge in Tokyo, according to the AP. Fans from visiting countries have already been banned from the games.

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Officials also said that fans who attend the games will follow strict orders including no cheering, mask mandates and heading home after events conclude. 

“We would like people to go directly home from the venue without stopping by anywhere,” the CEO of the organizing committee Toshiro Muto said in the AP report. 

Muto also said that stakeholders including co-sponsors and sporting federation officials won’t be counted in the official number l total of attendees, adding that 20,000 people might be in attendance during the opening ceremony. 

This comes as local citizens have expressed their opinion on either canceling or postponing the games and venue medical operators have called for a spectator ban as well. 

The president of the Toyko Olympic organizing committee, Seiko Hashimoto, told the newswire service the decision to allow fans to attend the events is “the last piece for the Olympics.”

“We need to be very flexible. If there is any abrupt change in the situation, we will hold five-party meetings again to make other decisions,” Hashimoto told the AP. “If there is an announcement of a state of emergency during the Games, all the options like no-spectator games will be examined.”

The 2020 Toyko Olympics is scheduled to begin July 23.