TOKYO, March 9
Japan has decided to stage this summer’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics without overseas spectators due to concern among the Japanese public about Covid-19, Kyodo news agency said today, citing officials with knowledge of the matter.
The government had concluded that welcoming fans from abroad would not be possible given public concern about the coronavirus and the detection of more contagious variants in many countries, Kyodo cited the officials as saying. The opening ceremony of the torch relay would also be held without spectators, Kyodo said.
Representatives of Tokyo 2020 were not immediately available for comment.
In the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea, local fans accounted for 80 percent of all ticket sales.
Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto had said she wanted a decision on whether to let in overseas spectators before the start of the torch relay on March 25.
The Japanese government and the games organising committee were due to hold a remote meeting with the International Olympic Committee later this month to make a formal decision on overseas visitors, Kyodo said.
Most Japanese people do not want international visitors, a Yomiuri newspaper poll showed.
The survey showed 77% of respondents were against allowing foreign fans to attend, versus 18% in favour. — Reuters