A small crowd will be permitted to attend the event.
Today, the organizers of the Tokyo Olympics announced that they had come to a decision regarding whether or not spectators would be permitted in the stands of the event. The organizers have been debating for months on whether to allow spectators at all, if they should only be Japanese locals, and how many would be permitted. Their final decision is that spectators will be allowed at the event, but only within 50% capacity of the venue’s total seating, around 10,000 seats, and only Japanese locals will be permitted to attend.
Even with foreign spectators banned from the games, national support for the Tokyo Olympics is still shaky. While stances have softened in the last month, a large portion of the Japanese populace still believe the games should be either cancelled or postponed in the interest of pandemic safety. Japanese health officials, including national medical advisor Dr. Shigeru Omi, have warned that, even at reduced seating capacity, holding the games with spectators in the stands could contribute to a rise in COVID-19 cases.
The Olympic organization committee, led by president Seiko Hashimoto, is determined to put on the games no matter what, not only for their symbolic significance, but because of the sheer breadth of capitol that’s already been invested in them. In the event that Japan is forced to declare another COVID state of emergency, Hashimoto has said that the games will proceed without any spectators.
“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 said. “If there is an announcement of a state of emergency during the Games, all the options like no-spectator games will be examined.”
The Tokyo Olympics are, unless otherwise specified, still scheduled to open on July 23.