Decision on local fans at Oly to be made after lifting of emergency

Tokyo Olympics organising committee chief Seiko Hashimoto said on Friday that the decision on how many local fans will be allowed into venues will be made after the state of emergency is lifted next month.

Japanese Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, officially extended the state of emergency over Covid-19 in Tokyo and other eight prefectures by three weeks to June 20 amid the slow declining pace of infections. Hokkaido, which will host the Olympic marathon and walking races in its capital Sapporo, is also one of the prefectures, Xinhua reports.

Just hours before Suga made the announcement, Hashimoto told reporters at a press conference that “the decision should be made as soon as possible, but after the state of emergency is lifted, we will assess.”

She added, “what is important is to provide medical and scientific evidence for the games to be safe and secure, so we will ask for information from (people of) those fields and sufficiently draw a conclusion.”

Overseas spectators will be banned from entering Japan for the Games and the decision on how many local fans will be allowed to watch the competition was originally scheduled to be made at the end of April. But with Tokyo entering a state of emergency from April 25, the organisers were forced to postpone the decision until June.

The Japanese government and the organisers are under mounting pressure from an increasing number of medical experts and Japanese people to call off the Olympics.