Japan cuts number of visiting Games officials by more than half


Japanese Olympic Games organisers have decided to reduce by more than 50 per cent the expected number of visiting officials the Olympics and Paralympics amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The number will be cut to about 78,000 people for the events in July, August and September.

The Tokyo Olympics organising committee said it had estimated about 177,000 officials would visit the Tokyo Games and the Paralympics before the outbreak of the coronavirus last year, which delayed the events by 12 months.

The committee now expects about 59,000 officials from overseas to come to the Olympics, down sharply from 141,000 it had initially planned, reports DPA.

The organisers also slashed the number of officials expected to attend the Paralympics to about 19,000 officials from 36,000.

Organising committee chief executive Toshiro Muto said they will make a final decision next month on how many spectators would be allowed to enter the venues.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Japanese organisers agreed in March to ban overseas spectators from attending the Games due to the pandemic.

The organisers also plan to cut 30 per cent of about 10,000 medical staff they had initially planned for during the Games as part of its simplification efforts, they said.

Doctors and nurses in Japan have expressed strong opposition to the Olympics with hospitals strained by rising numbers of coronavirus infections across the country, while the IOC and Japanese organisers are pressing ahead with the Games.

Also on Wednesday, the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) said Japan’s Olympic athletes would soon start getting coronavirus vaccination, despite the extremely slow pace of vaccination in the country.

The inoculations for about 1,600 people, including coaches and some 600 athletes, will kick off on June 1 ahead of the scheduled July 23 start of the Games, the JOC said.

Tokyo Olympics coordination commission chair John Coates told a meeting recently that the Games will be staged even under a state of emergency. His comment sparked anger on social media as 60 to 80 per cent of Japanese people oppose the Olympics amid the pandemic.