Tokyo Olympics as a TV-only event with few fans

Tokyo-The Tokyo Olympics, with its delayed pandemic, is being shaped as a television-only event, opening in just over two weeks with few spectators.

The Asahi Shimbun in Japan quoted several unknown government sources as saying that the opening ceremony at the 68,000-seat National Stadium on Tuesday is likely to be limited to VIP guests only. The Olympics will start on July 23rd.

The newspaper said it was likely that there would be no spectators in other large venues. The small venue is expected to accommodate some spectators.

The organizers of Tokyo and the International Olympic Committee will announce their policies after a possible meeting on Thursday.

Two weeks ago, they announced that the venue could fill up to 50% capacity with a 10,000 limit. However, the rapidly increasing number of viruses in Tokyo has forced them to roll back.

The IOC derives nearly 75% of its revenue from television rights and still generates $ 3 to $ 4 billion from television-only events.

Fans from abroad were banned a few months ago.

Dr. Shigeru Omi, the government’s chief medical adviser, said the least risky Olympics were the absence of spectators. He also said it was “abnormal” to host the Olympics during a pandemic.

According to Asahi, the ban on spectators could be applied to events that take place after 9 pm and to large venues where 50% of the capacity exceeds 5,000.

VIPs, sponsors and other dignitaries are allowed to attend the opening ceremony and other venues, but the newspaper said the number could be reduced as well. According to the newspaper, this “special category” was about 10,000 people.

Toshiro Muto, CEO of the Organizing Committee, said two weeks ago that VIPs were allowed to enter the venue beyond the spectator limit and were classified as “organizers” rather than spectators.

“There are many stakeholders, such as the IOC, who are associated with key clients. And to them, they are considered game organizers, not spectators,” Muto said.

In an interview with Japanese television TBS, Yoshiro Mori, the former chairman of the Organizing Committee, said he had proposed the Olympics to other politicians of the ruling Liberal Party without an audience.

“I was saying that I should plan based on the lack of an audience,” he said.

Former Prime Minister Mori was forced to resign as chairman of the Organizing Committee five months ago after being criticized for making “inappropriate” comments about women.

Approximately 11,000 Olympic athletes and 4,400 Paralympians will enter Tokyo with tens of thousands of coaches, managers, broadcasters and the media.

Audience decisions may be made on the same Thursday as IOC Chairman Thomas Bach arrives in Tokyo. Bach is to be quarantined for three days at a five-star hotel in Tokyo.

The government is also expected to extend the quasi-state of emergency ending this Sunday.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government reported 593 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday. The number of cases was higher than it was a week ago for 17 consecutive days. On Saturday, the capital reported 716 new cases. This is the best in 5 weeks.

The Tokyo government also confirmed on Tuesday that it would remove the torch relay from the streets for all feet in the capital. Those legs were supposed to start on Friday. The exception is events on a small island off the mainland of Tokyo.

Since its inception in the Tohoku region in March, the relay has repeatedly rescheduled, rerouted, and quarantined in parks away from public places. The event is heavily sponsored by Coca-Cola and Toyota. After the postponement, there was a proposal to cancel it, but it was immediately rejected.

Stephen Wade and Kentaro Komiya

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