With most foreign spectators barred, the Tokyo Games are already likely to lack much of the spectacle that makes the Olympics such a larger-than-life event. But as Japan’s vaccine rollout plods on, the Japanese government is reportedly weighing the possibility of extending the state of emergency measures already in place in Tokyo and 8 other prefectures, leaving the measures in place during and even after the Games.
Japanese press reports claimed government officials have floated the idea of holding the Olympics without spectators if the emergency measures are extended beyond July 11, the date they are currently set to expire.
Mainichi quoted some government officials saying that at the very least, the games will need to be held without spectators to stave off the possibility of an outbreak of the “Delta” variant, the subject of new fearmongering campaigns being launched around the world by public health experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci.
The spectator limit for Olympics events was supposed to be set at 10K.
If the state of emergency is extended, Japanese officials will meet with the organizers of the Games to discuss the policy on spectators.
In other news, organizers are pulling one of the most important stages of the Tokyo Olympic torch relay off the roads of Tokyo due to fears about potentially causing a “superspreader event” among the spectators who might gather to watch the relay.
Citing the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Kyodo said the relay would not appear on public streets from July 9 to July 16. Instead, organizers would decide on the format for the relay from July 17 until the opening ceremony on July 23.
The relay began in March in northeastern Japan. It has faced numerous detours, scaled back programs, and has been run at times only in public park spaces to avoid spreading the virus. It’s not clear what will happen with the torch if it’s removed from public streets in Tokyo.
Tokyo confirmed 476 new cases on Tuesday, up from 435 last Tuesday. It’s the 10th straight day that cases eclipsed the 7-day average. Japan has attributed about 14,500 deaths to COVID-19, which is a much better rate than many developed countries, though some of its East Asian neighbors managed to do better.