Tokyo Olympics chief: Spectator ban still possible

Tokyo Olympics chief: Spectator ban still possible
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The president of the Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee said Tuesday it is still possible for spectators to be banned from the Summer Games as Japan struggles to keep down coronavirus infections.

"We may potentially bring down the number of spectators, a cap on the spectators or ... no spectators," Seiko Hashimoto told NBC News.

A day earlier, Olympic organizers had said that 10,000 local fans in Japan could come and watch the games.

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Japanese medical experts have previously said having no spectators at the games would be the least risky option for the committee.

Foreign fans were banned months ago in an effort to lessen the number of people traveling to the country for the games, which were delayed a year because of the pandemic.

Thousands will still be going to Japan for the games, including athletes, coaches and media. 

Along with the spectator ban, Hashimoto said it is possible for games and events to be canceled once the Olympics begin if athletes start testing positive for the coronavirus. 

Debate has stirred in the country about if the games should continue due to the number of coronavirus cases and slow vaccination rollout in the country.

Officials have said numerous times that there are no plans this year to cancel the games, which are set to start in a month.