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Japan Considers Locals-Only Olympics

Japan Considers Locals-Only Olympics

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Foreign fans may not be allowed at the Tokyo Olympics.

With the Tokyo Olympics still very much up in the air, courtesy of everyone’s favorite endless pandemic, those in charge of making it happen have been trying to fine-tune their plans to raise their odds of putting on a successful show if only slightly. Currently, the major concern is the inevitable influx of foreign spectators the Olympics would bring to Japan’s shores.

While Japan is in good shape on COVID deaths, at least relative to the rest of the world, the vast majority of its citizenry, at least 80%, would prefer the Olympics be either cancelled or postponed again in order to prevent any outbreaks. Olympic organization committee president Seiko Hashimoto suggested in a recent meeting that the best way to assuage some of these concerns would be to disallow foreign spectators at the Tokyo Olympics.

“If the situation is tough and it would make the [Japanese] consumers concerned, that is a situation we need to avoid from happening,” Hashimoto said.

“In the current situation it is impossible to bring in foreign spectators,” an anonymous government official told the Mainichi newspaper.

Also present in the committee meeting where Hashimoto made her comments was IOC president Thomas Bach, who stressed that some difficult choices will need to be made if they’re committed to putting on the Tokyo Olympics in any capacity.

“We will focus on the essentials,” Bach said. “That means mainly the competitions. This has to be the clear focus. In this respect we may have to set one or another priority.”

Bach added that he hopes “to have as many participants as possible arriving vaccinated to Tokyo.”

“There I can inform you that a considerable number of national Olympic committees has already secured this pre-Tokyo vaccination,” Bach said.

At the moment, the Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to open on July 23, though it’s anyone’s guess as to whether this date will be upheld.

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