Thomas Bach, the President of the International Olympic Committee, has released a video to athletes addressing the country of Japan’s decision to hold the 2020 Olympic Games without spectators.
The decision to hold the Games without spectators was first revealed on Thursday, after Japan entered a State of Emergency amid rising Covid-19 cases in the country. In the press release, Japanese Olympic Committee’s Seiko Hashimoto said that the organizers had, “no choice,” regarding the decision.
Now, President Bach has reaffirmed the IOC and IPC’s commitment to hosting the Games, while expressing an understanding of the Japanese Olympic Committee’s decision.
“It was a decision which was necessary to ensure safe Olympic Games and this is why the IOC and the IPC both supported this decision,” said President Bach. “I hope we all agree that the most important thing is that these Olympic Games are happening – that you can make your Olympic dream come true.”
On July 9, the country of Japan saw a total of 2,230 new coronavirus cases, while the 7-day average positive test rate has been around 6.6%, according to the CDC. This is about a 1% increase in positive tests since July 3, 2021. A total of about 21.3 million Japanese residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, which only accounts for about 16.9% of the total population. In comparison, approximately 158 million US residents have been fully vaccinated, with an almost 50% vaccination rate.
The 2020 Olympic Games are set to begin in less than 2 weeks, with the opening ceremonies beginning on July 23. Approximately 11,000 athletes are expected to be in attendance from hundreds of different countries.