Tokyo Olympics will be forced behind closed doors as Japanese government declares state of emergency
The Tokyo Olympics are set to be forced behind closed doors after the Japanese government declared a new state of emergency due to a Covid surge, just two weeks before the Games start
The Japanese government is set to declare another state of emergency in Tokyo spanning the duration of the Olympics, raising the possibility that all spectators will be banned.
Japan’s capital is currently under a quasi-state of emergency, which is due to expire on Sunday. But with just two weeks to go until the Games, the country’s strictest measures are now set to be reintroduced until August 22 due to a spike in coronavirus cases.
The decision, which will be announced on Thursday, will have a major ripple effect on the Olympics, which run from July 23 to August 8.
The Tokyo Olympics are more and more likely to take place behind closed doors this summer
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga set to declare a new state of emergency in Tokyo
The current spectator policy allows venues to be filled up to 50% capacity with a maximum of 10,000 domestic supporters.
But with a fourth state of emergency about to be declared, organizers will meet to discuss a new limit on spectator numbers, with a complete ban on all fans in Tokyo under serious consideration. Different rules may apply to events taking place outside the host city.
Shigeru Omi, the government’s top health adviser, said “it’s best if the events take place without spectators” and that “images of spectators would send a mixed message”.
The final stages of the Olympic Torch Relay have already been removed from public roads, with torch-lighting ceremonies held instead.
Tokyo confirmed 920 new cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday, the highest since May 13.