Tokyo 2020 Organizers Confirm 50% Spectator Capacity at Games

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced that they will allow 50% venue capacity, up to a maximum of 10,000 people, at all venues during the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics. In addition, the competition schedule will remain unchanged.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Dates: Friday, July 23, 2021 – Sunday, August 8, 2021

No change was announced to the ban on foreign spectators.

The announcement comes as new coronavirus cases in Japan have fallen substantially over the last month. On May 15th, the country’s 7-day rolling average of new cases hit a new high of 6,505-per-day, but that number has now fallen to 1,448.

That’s a rate of about 1.1 new daily infections per 100,000 citizens,

The country is averaging more than 50 deaths-per-day, on average, over the last week. That’s roughly one-third of the infection rate of the United States, where most restrictions nationally have been lifted on spectator capacities, in spite of the U.S. having a much higher vaccination rate (49.6% vs. Japan’s 11.4%, according to Bloomberg).

The Japanese Olympic Committee says that they expect around 95% of participants in the Olympics to receive a vaccination through their local governments or IOC partnership programs.

Aquatic Venues:

Two indoor and one outdoor venue will play host to aquatic sports during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

  • Tokyo Aquatics Centre – Swimming, Diving, Artistic Swimming – Original capacity: 15,000, Reduced capacity – 7,500
  • Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Center – Water Polo – Original capacity: 4,700, Reduced capacity – 2,350
  • Odaiba Marine Park – Open Water Swimming – Original capacity: 5,000 seated, unlimited standing room, Reduced capacity – 2,500 seated, unlimited standing room

The one outdoor aquatics venue, for open water swimming, technically includes “unlimited standing room” along the race route, and the IOC has not specified how that will be managed, but historically, the venue for that event has not been filled near capacity anyway.

None of these limitations will include members of the school’s spectator program or their supervisor. That program offers discounted tickets to schools for less than the equivalent of $20 each. Many schools have pulled out of those programs in light of ongoing coronavirus concerns, though the numbers represent just a few hundred per event, mostly.

The largest venue at the Games is the Japan National Stadium, which is set to host the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as track & field events and the final of the women’s soccer tournament. That venue holds 68,000 at full capacity, meaning the reduced capacity will be 34,000.

Other large venues include the tennis center (20,000 spread across 11 courts), the Central Breakwater and Sea Forest Waterway, which holds 20,000 across equestrian, rowing, and sprint canoeing disciplines; and the Oi Hockey Stadium, which will hold 15,000 for field hockey.

Full list of IOC decisions:

  • In light of the government’s restrictions on public events, the spectator limit for the Olympic Games will be set at “50 per cent of venue capacity, up to a maximum of 10,000 people” at all venues. (Students in the schools’ spectator programme and their supervisors will not be considered in these numbers, and will be treated separately as they are not spectators.)
  • The current competition schedule remains unchanged. In principle, spectators will be admitted to events subject to the above limits.
  • However, in the event that a state of emergency or other priority measures aimed at preventing infection are implemented at any time after 12 July 2021, restrictions on spectator numbers at the Games, including non-spectator competitions, will be based on the content of the state of emergency or other relevant measures in force at that time.
  • In the event of any rapid change in infection status and in the capacity of the medical care system, a five-party meeting will be held promptly to consider further measures.
  • The Japanese parties have formulated guidelines for spectators aimed at ensuring safe and secure environments. These stipulate that masks should be worn in venues at all times; speaking in a loud voice or shouting will be prohibited; congestion should be avoided by means of appropriate announcements; and visitors should leave venues in a staggered manner. Spectators will be requested to travel directly to venues and return home directly, and to take all necessary precautions when moving between prefectures.
  • Given the COVID-19 situation, the Japanese parties intend to look into either cancelling or reducing the scale of any live sites and public viewing events to minimise the movement of people, review any other Games-related events, and establish new safe and secure ways of cheering and supporting the athletes.
  • A framework will be implemented to keep monitoring the status of infections and medical care using expert advice.
  • Consistent and unified messages aimed at ensuring safe and secure Games by the five parties will be delivered.
  • The equivalent policies governing the Paralympic Games will be decided by 16 July 2021, a week before the opening of the Olympic Games.

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Little Mermaid
1 year ago

Branden, why don’t you print up an editorial on vaccine requirements for athletes in Tokyo! you handsome guy!

Little Mermaid
Reply to  Little Mermaid
1 year ago

Apologies,did not have my glasses on, Braden.

Not Tapered 🏊
1 year ago

Better than nothing and looks like the games will go on 🥇🥈🥉

Max C
1 year ago

Curious whether/how they plan on enforcing “no talking loudly or shouting”

Reply to  Max C
1 year ago

Probably using only people who think golf is cool as spectator

Banana Heat
Reply to  Rafael
1 year ago

I guess you haven’t seen US pro golf galleries lately…..

1 year ago

reduced capacities will not be higher than 10.000 then… not 34000… and students do not count as people 😉

1 year ago

Off topic
Popovici just went 1:46:15 200 free LCM..

Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  Rafael
1 year ago


thorpe went 1:46.00 as a 16 yo and he’s by far to closest person to going faster than it

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  Old Man Chalmers
1 year ago

22 years ago, and in briefs. Amazing.

Last edited 1 year ago by Texas Tap Water
Reply to  Rafael
1 year ago

The writing was on the wall after his 48.0, but wonderful to see. Such a shame he missed semis at Euros.

Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  Dee
1 year ago

curious to see where his 100 is at now. interesting that there’s 2 juniors who are both 100-200 free guys, popovici who is better in the 100, and hwang sun woo, who is better in the 200, but both of them are still great at the other distance

Reply to  Old Man Chalmers
1 year ago


Putting my Brit glasses back on, I wouldn’t forget Jacob Whittle yet either – He dropped his 200 PB to 1.48.1 a few weeks ago, which a few hours would have looked amazing for a 16 year old (cheers David haha). Looks very much a 100/200 type and is relatively new to 200s. Even Matt Richards, 48.2/1.45.7 at 18, is not to be sniffed at.

Reply to  Rafael
1 year ago

came here to read the article; found this comment:)) there’s a lot more from where this is coming, stay tuned 🦦

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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