SPORTS Tokyo organizers moot plan for limited spectators

SPORTS

Tokyo organizers moot plan for limited spectators

China Daily

10:14, August 03, 2020

Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshiro Muto.

Next year's coronavirus-postponed Olympics could be held in front of a "limited number of spectators" to prevent the spread of infection, Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshiro Muto has said.

The Tokyo 2020 Games are now scheduled to open on July 23, 2021, after a historic postponement forced by the global march of the pandemic.

Muto said that organizers were committed to holding the event in 2021, with no discussion of cancelling or postponing it further.

"Everyone should focus on holding the event next year-we're on the same page," he said.

Muto added that International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach was "not looking for" a Games held without spectators, but acknowledged smaller audiences might be possible. "He may be thinking about a limited number of spectators with full consideration of social distancing," Muto said.

"We must build an environment where people feel safe. Athletes and the IOC family may require testing before/after entering Japan and we need strong medical systems around accommodation and transportation plans."

Japan currently bans visitors from more than 100 countries in a bid to limit the spread of the virus and Muto said it was "too optimistic to assume all restrictions will be gone, so we must think of other ways".

Japanese citizens have expressed skepticism about whether the Olympics can or should be held.

Two polls in July found the majority of Japanese think the Games should be postponed again or canceled altogether.

And several medical experts have suggested the Games will not be viable without a proven treatment or vaccine for the virus.

Muto said a vaccine would be "a benefit... (but) not a precondition".

Japan has seen experienced a comparatively small coronavirus outbreak with just over 1,000 deaths but infections have been on the rise, particularly in Tokyo.

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