The issue of admitting fans to the Olympic venues in Tokyo is still being discussed with a decision that is unlikely to be announced before the end of the month.
That would be just weeks before the Olympics opened on July 23. Fans from abroad have already been banned from what is being shaped as largely for Olympia TV.
Tokyo and several prefectures are in a state of emergency until June 20. Infections have slowed recently, but the spread of options is still a problem that could put pressure on already stressed medical facilities.
Dr Nobuhiko Okabe, director general of the Kawasaki City Institute of Public Health, suggested on Friday that he lean towards a few fans. He spoke at a panel set up by the Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee.
“Thinking differently, I think it’s an option to offer people to enjoy TV games – like working at a distance,” he said.
“We could offer a different way to enjoy the games.”
Okabe said it’s not just about the fans in the bars, but also about what they do after leaving – heading to bars or restaurants.
“We don’t want people to move much,” he said.
“This is our desire while thinking about antivirus measures.”
Organizing Committee President Seiko Hashimoto initially said he would announce a decision in April for local fans, but has repeatedly postponed it.
Ticket sales were to represent $ 800 million in revenue for the organizing committee. Much of this will be lost and must be offset by Japanese government.
Japan is officially spending $ 15.4 billion to host the Olympics, although government audits show the figure is much higher. All but $ 6.7 billion is public money.
The Swiss-based International Olympic Committee derives almost 75% of its revenue from the sale of broadcasting rights, which drives the Games and the urgency to take place during a pandemic.
Japan’s JiJi Press said on Friday, without citing sources, that Dr. Shigeru Omi will issue a report next week warning of the risks of having fans. He is a former regional director of the World Health Organization and head of a government working group on the virus.
Speaking at a parliamentary session last week, he said “it is extremely important that we do not allow the Olympic Games to provoke a flow of people”.
Hashimoto warned that there could be penalties for anyone who violates strict rules around the Tokyo Games. She did not say what they would be and said that this was still being discussed.
The protocol for anyone entering Japan for the Olympics requires frequent tests, limited movement, and GPS monitoring of smartphones.
This includes everyone, from athletes to journalists to employees and other employees working in the games.
About 11,000 athletes will attend the Olympic Games with 4,400 for the Paralympic Games. Tens of thousands more will also enter Japan for the two events. Organizers say the total number for the two events – including athletes – is about 93,000.
Organizers say that’s about half of the original total expectation of 180,000.
“To make Japanese citizens feel safe, there are strict rules that we have to set or not,” Hashimoto said.
“We would like to avoid punishing people, but we must take thorough measures.”