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05 March 2021
Tokyo Summer Olympics may exclude foreign fans
There is speculation that overseas sports fans may not be allowed to attend the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo later this year, amid widespread Japanese concerns about the safety of the event due to COVID-19.
As reported by the Guardian, Seiko Hashimoto, the new president of the Tokyo Olympic organising committee, confirmed that the potential involvement of spectators formed a key part of talks last week with Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee.
Andrew Parsons, the International Paralympic Committee president, also attended the meeting along with Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike and the Japanese Olympic minister, Tamayo Marukawa.
“If the situation is tough and it would make the [Japanese] consumers concerned, that is a situation we need to avoid from happening,” Hashimoto is reported to have said.
“We will focus on the essentials,” added IOC president Thomas Bach at last week’s virtual meeting.
Their comments coincided with a report in Japanese newspaper Mainichi, which suggested Olympic officials have already made up their minds even though a final announcement is not expected until later this month.
The Mainichi report quoted a government source saying: “In the current situation it is impossible to bring in foreign spectators.”
Clearly, a Summer Games that does not include foreign spectators would have implications for broadcasters, sponsors and advertisers.
“We need to look at the overall situation before we decide on any percentage rates. We believe we will not be accepted unless the citizens feel confident that sufficient countermeasures are taken” – Seiko Hashimoto, president of the Tokyo Olympic organising committee.