Fans Are Banned from the Olympic Games Due to New Tokyo Ordinances

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  • A new state of emergency order from Tokyo officials issued earlier this month has effectively blocked fans from coming to see the Olympics in person.
  • Due to increases in new COVID-19 cases in Tokyo and beyond, local spectators living in Japan won’t be in attendance despite previous allocations for half-capacity arenas.
  • You may see some fans in the stands, as a few nearby cities are hosting events that are welcoming spectators.

    It’s hard to ignore that most of your favorite events at the Tokyo Games are totally devoid of cheering fans. If you’ve been anxiously awaiting the delayed 2020 Olympics, you’ll recall that event organizers in Japan had determined back in March that international travelers wouldn’t be able to attend the Games in person. That said, however, Japanese officials were planning to host as many as 10,000 local fans at some events.

    Those living in Tokyo as well as other nearby districts (known as “prefectures”) were expected to be invited to most events at 50% total capacity. But Olympic officials have since changed their stance.

    Why are there no spectators at the Tokyo Olympics?

    The Olympics are now shifting to a spectator-less event schedule after Tokyo officials declared a new state of emergency in early July. According to CNN reports, Tokyo venues will remain largely empty to lower COVID-19 transmission risks for Olympians as well as support staff, sports media and other local authorities as part of the new executive order.

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    While Tokyo Games officials had previously told members of the press that as much as 80% of athletes would be vaccinated prior to the opening ceremony, rising COVID-19 cases in Tokyo triggered officials to announce a state of emergency.

    “Many people were looking forward to watching the games at the venues, but I would like everyone to fully enjoy watching the games on TV at home,” Yuriko Koike, Tokyo’s Governor, told reporters with the Associated Press. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga added that COVID-19 variants are largely to blame for the last-minute emergency order.

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    “The number of infected cases in the area including Tokyo has been increasing since the end of last month … considering the impact of variants, we need to enhance countermeasures so that infection will not spread nationwide,” he said.

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    As part of the order, which will last through the entire Tokyo Games, all those attending in person must hold “accreditation” with the Olympics and play a role in executing the event in question. Even the parents and family members of the athletes in attendance will be barred from attending events.

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    Will there be any fans at the Tokyo Olympics?

    Some may be confused after tuning into an event that has a crowded audience. But Tokyo’s state of emergency doesn’t apply to three other prefectures (Miyagi, Fukushima, and Shizuoka), which means those venues will continue to host up to 10,000 fans.

    While fans will be largely missing from this year’s Games, you can rest assured that sporting events and matches won’t be canceled altogether. Reuters has reported that International Olympic Committee estimates show that the organization behind the Tokyo Olympics would lose between $3 and $4 billion if every event was canceled. It’s why viewers around the world will simply have to settle for a televised (albeit a bit quieter!) schedule this year.

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