Japanese prime minister unsure about spectators just weeks before Olympics

Japanese prime minister unsure about spectators just weeks before Olympics
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Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said it is still unclear if spectators will be allowed at the Olympics only weeks before the games are set to begin.

“I have made clear that having no spectators is a possibility,” Suga said on Thursday, The Associated Press reported. “We will take steps as we prioritize safety and security of the people.”

A decision on spectators would have to come after a meeting with the prime minister, the International Olympic Committee, Tokyo, the country’s organizing committee and the International Paralympic Committee, AP noted.

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The debate over spectators continues after a decision was made to allow 10,000 people attend the games if emergency conditions are lifted by the time they start. Many balked at the suggestion of spectators due to an increase of coronavirus cases in the country.

Japan is being hit with the delta variant of the virus that has caused the number of new cases to rise for the past 10 days, increasing fear the Olympics will lead to a bigger jump in cases, according to the AP.

Suga will decide next week if Japan goes under another state of emergency due to the rise in cases or if he’ll lift more restrictions ahead of the game. 

The country’s previous state of emergency ended in June, with restrictions on bars and restaurants still in place.

Japan’s emperor is among those who are concerned about an increase in cases due to the Olympics that were canceled last year because of the pandemic.