Tokyo Olympic Venues Will Have No Spectators; Japan Enters State of Emergency

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will be held without any spectators, it was announced Thursday, as Japan entered a state of emergency that will run through the Games.

The announcement was made by the Japanese Olympic Committee following a meeting of five Olympic and Japanese groups responsible for the Games.

Japanese Olympic Committee’s Seiko Hashimoto said that organizers had “no choice but to hold the Games in a limited way.”

According to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Government of Japan (GoJ) implemented the state of emergency as a measure “aimed at suppressing the flow of people in order to prevent the spread of infection now, because the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases remains high and the number of people infected with variant COVID-19 strains in Tokyo is increasing.”

The country entering a state of emergency that would run through the Olympic Games was expected, and the severity of the restrictions put in place would determine whether or not spectators would be allowed to attend.

This will be the city’s fourth state of emergency since the beginning of the pandemic.

Tokyo is under the most stringent restrictions, which will run from July 12 to August 22, but the events taking place outside of the capital are still being considered to have spectators.

It’s worth noting that, with the state of emergency not being put into effect until Monday, July 12, there were reportedly close to 10,000 fans in attendance for a baseball game at Tokyo Dome on Wednesday.

“The number of infected cases in the area including Tokyo has been increasing since the end of last month,” said Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga, speaking at the start of the government’s Covid-19 task force meeting.

“The number of severe cases and bed occupancy rate continues to be on the low level, but considering the impact of variants, we need to enhance countermeasures so that the infection will not spread nationwide.”
Tokyo reported 920 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, its highest since May 13.

“There is a remarkable increase of infections especially in the big cities in the Tokyo area,” said Yasutoshi Nishimura, the minister in charge of the country’s pandemic response, also adding that the more infectious Delta variant was of major concern, now accounting for up to 30% of cases.

Suga had initially ignored medical experts and opted to allow up to 10,000 domestic spectators, 50 percent capacity, at the Games. Overseas spectators were banned from attending.

A decision on fans attending the Paralympic Games, initially supposed to be made by July 16, now won’t be made until after the Olympics conclude. The Olympic Games end on August 8, and the Paralympics will begin on August 24.

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Olympian
2 months ago

Finally!

The Kraken
2 months ago

That really sucks. Maybe they can pipe in crowd noise so it’s not completely quiet during the races?

John
Reply to  The Kraken
2 months ago

Swim Canada did this at trials and it was odd but better than silence. More odd for those on deck of course.

Cate
Reply to  The Kraken
2 months ago

Yeah, being concerned about the health of the general public with the rise of the delta varient really sucks.

Rembeo
2 months ago

Get vaccinated and let it rip w fans.

oxyswim
Reply to  Rembeo
2 months ago

About 20% of the Japanese population has had 2 doses. Based on current vaccination rates it takes about 10 days to add 10%, but there is also the 14 day window after the second dose until you are considered fully inoculated, and the games start on the 23rd.

Cate
Reply to  Rembeo
2 months ago

One of those “just like that” simplistic comments.

Leopard
2 months ago

I’m not familiar with the economic model of hosting OGs – does Tokyo need to host these games to recoup part of their investment, or are they going ahead with the games for world perception reasons?

ACC
Reply to  Leopard
2 months ago

The Olympics never really pay for themselves. I think Japan has realized they aren’t going to recoup many losses and want to avoid it being a political crisis at home for them as well. 80% of Japanese citizens are opposed to the Olympics happening as scheduled and the government is already unpopular.

Corn Pop
Reply to  ACC
2 months ago

Japan does not have politics. It has something uberimposed in 1945 but real Life goes on without it . However it is worth checking in every 2 decades . Put 2025 in your notebook .

Last edited 2 months ago by Corn Pop
Cincokat
Reply to  Leopard
2 months ago

The Games are highly insured unless claims for “pandemic related matters” are excluded. Even with a high deductible and/or partial self insurance, they should be ok financially, barring any unusual coverage issues.

Cate
Reply to  Cincokat
2 months ago

They don’t all make money. Rio and Sydney lost 2B. Without spectators Tokyo is estimated to lose 23 billion. Here’s a good piece on costs o putting on the games.
https://www.playthegame.org/news/comments/2021/1014_the-unpredictable-financial-costs-of-hosting-the-olympic-games/

Jamie5678
Reply to  Leopard
2 months ago

I’d imagine a big concern is the media companies’ investment. Some of them have shelled out 200 dollars for SwimSwam’s Definitive Tokyo Guide.

Cate
Reply to  Leopard
2 months ago

All Olympic Games lose money. This one will just be a financial loss on steroids.

Comet
2 months ago

That’s only a fraction (of cases) compared to the numbers for New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois and California under their awful governors

ACC
Reply to  Comet
2 months ago

But not Texas and Florida, their governors are awesome despite the fact that they have more cases per capita than California, but they’re better because *mumblemumblemumble*.

Rookie
Reply to  ACC
2 months ago

California is a cherry pick. Texas and Florida rank 24th and 26th in deaths per capita. California ranks 33rd. The Northeast states bombed.

ACC
Reply to  Rookie
2 months ago

Well, I’m not the one who brought it up so it’s not much of a cherry-pick on my part as a silly thing to say on theirs.

DMSWIM
Reply to  Comet
2 months ago

Or Texas or Florida or Missouri…

Dan
Reply to  Comet
2 months ago

different country, different culture

Olympian
Reply to  Comet
2 months ago

Should’ve brought these Games to Florida when they had the chance

Hillbilly
Reply to  Olympian
2 months ago

They never had a chance. Florida is a steaming cesspool

Iron Spine
Reply to  Comet
2 months ago

*ahem* blue state bad red state good

gator
2 months ago

another win for the CCP lobby

ACC
Reply to  gator
2 months ago

I honestly can’t make sense of this comment. What does the Chinese Communist Party have to do with the Japanese Government saying there can’t be spectators?

oxyswim
Reply to  ACC
2 months ago

It’s also the CPC, but getting even that right is too hard.

IM FAN
Reply to  oxyswim
2 months ago

Both are correct.

Distance Per Stroke
2 months ago

Breaks WR, *crickets*

HulkSwim
2 months ago

Will athletes still be permitted in stands?

Kitajima > Hansen
Reply to  HulkSwim
2 months ago

No, they will be in their rooms when not training or competing. You’ll see many IG posts from athletes stuck in their rooms. It will be a lockdown games. It already happened in other sporting events in Japan the past couple months. They will also have personal minders with them anytime they leave their room, like people going on tours in North Korea. If I were an athlete I would come to these games as late as possible and leave asap. It will be a very forgettable experience out of competition.

Kitajima > Hansen
Reply to  Kitajima > Hansen
2 months ago

We are still laughing your comment “ignoring social distancing is safe if outside” in an article titled: SPECTATORS IN DOUBT FOR OLYMPICS AS JAPAN PREPARES STATE OF EMERGENCY”

You may want to contact Japan to tell them spectators are ok.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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