Along with hampering various events across the world, coronavirus pandemic has casted its shadow on the Tokyo Olympics.
The concerned authorities related with organization of the largest athletic event from 23rd July- 8th August, 2021 have capped the number of spectators to 10000 and only local fans.
To read in detail about the limitation on the event scheduled next month-end, make sure to stick throughout the entire article.
Recently the organizers of the athletic event announced to allow a limited number of local fans as they are trying to save the spirit of the sport where cheering has even been banned. They put a seating capacity of 50 percent, i.e., a total of 10,000 fans for every venue. Moreover, officials also commented that there would be a change in rules again if there is again a rise in coronavirus cases, and no fans would be allowed. There was already a ban for abroad spectators, and now if the condition worsens, local fans may also be prohibited.
All about the decision to allow 10000 spectators in the Tokyo Olympics
The decision is taken in the wake of the reduction of new infections in the city, and the voice of opposition is also softening to host the games in July. However, the scientific community fears that where most citizens have not taken the vaccination yet, crowds during the Tokyo Olympics may drive the cases up. Dr. Shigeru Omi, the nation’s chief medical adviser, advised the Olympic committee that the safest best to conduct the Games is not allowing any fans. Spectators pose a risk not only at the venues but also the crowd will be drawn to trains, restaurants, and public spaces.
It is evident that this year’s Tokyo Olympics Games will be different from the previous ones. However, the organizers are optimistic and determined to hold the Games as multi-billion dollar ticket sales and broadcast rights are at stake. Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee’s president, Seiko Hashimoto, has given the green signal to proceed with the preparations, and everything should fall in place on July 23.
Even though the maximum limit for spectators is 10,000 in any venue, stakeholders, including sporting federation officials and sponsors, are not counted in the above total as quoted by Mr. Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the Organizing Committee. According to Japanese media, there could be 20,000 crowds at the opening ceremony, excluding athletes, although Mr. Toshiro believed the numbers would be much less.
The decision to allow local fans was taken at Five-Part Talks virtually with the Japanese government, the International Olympic Committee, metropolitan Tokyo, the International Paralympics Committee, and the local organizers. A decision on the Paralympics will be taken on July 16. Meanwhile, Hashimoto is open to flexible options; if the situations worsen in the coming days, there will again be a party meeting, and if there is a state emergency, then the Olympics would take place without any fans.
Officials quoted local fans entering the stadiums should wear masks, not cheer and go home directly from the venue without stopping anywhere. Apart from this, the spectators need not show any vaccination proof or a negative COVID-19 report. A total of 3.64 million tickets are already reserved for Japanese residents, and more than 9 lakh seats will be available. Tokyo Olympic organizers expect $800 million in revenue from selling tickets, but Mr. Muto commented that the actual figure would be close to $400 million. If there is any shortfall, it has to be managed by the Japanese government.
Various sources quoted that the official cost is $15.4 billion; however, government audits suggest double the amount. Nevertheless, $6.7 billion is taxpayer’s money. Seventy-five percent of the income of the International Olympic Committee comes from selling broadcasting rights. Sponsors comprise another 18 percent. Therefore, the event’s cancellation can cost the committee $3- 4 billion – a massive blow significantly when the flow of income has already reduced due to the pandemic.
The decision to hold the event again comes up as the emergency has been lifted due to the low number of cases. A weekly average for new infections is close to 400 regularly. Tokyo and the surrounding areas are under ‘quasi-emergency’ status till July 11. The new rules permit restaurants to offer alcohol during limited hours because of the ease of restrictions. Although there is a decrease in cases in the capital in the last few weeks, the fall the authorities have been expecting is not met. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Tokyo has had a total of 170,000 cases.
Due to COVID-19, more than 14,000 have lost their lives and have managed the situation better than other countries but not as efficiently as some other Asian nations. The vaccination campaign is much behind several Western countries, with only 6.5 percent of Japanese are fully vaccinated, and only 16.5 percent have taken the first shot.
Prime Minister Mr. Yoshihide Suga and Tokyo Governor Mr. Yuriko Koike said that there is no emergency requirement. Then the Games will take place without any fans as the topmost priority is the security and safety of the people. Polls conducted daily show most locals prefer to postpone the event or cancel altogether. The latest surveys indicate the opposition has reduced their protests and favours organizing the games rather than cancellation if there is no postponement option.