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Tokyo Olympics to be held largely without spectators

The Olympic Games in Tokyo will go ahead without spectators after Japan declared a coronavirus state of emergency for the capital that will run throughout the event.

Prime minister Yoshihide Suga says the new restrictions will in effect from 12 July and remain in place until 22 August, which will eclipse the Olympics.

The Games are scheduled to take place between 23 July to 8 August, while the Paralympic Games are between 24 August and 5 September.

Under the state of emergency, venues in Tokyo and other areas near the capital city will not be allowed to hold events with fans during the Games.

However, stadiums in the regions of Fukushima, Miyagi and Shizuoka will be permitted to have spectators up to 50% of capacity and up to 10,000 people.

“Taking into consideration the effect of coronavirus variants… we need to strengthen our countermeasures”

Bars and restaurants will not be allowed to serve alcohol and must close by 8 pm.

“Taking into consideration the effect of coronavirus variants and not to let the infections spread again to the rest of the nation, we need to strengthen our countermeasures,” says the prime minister.

Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto says: “It is regrettable that we are delivering the Games in a very limited format, facing the spread of coronavirus infections. I am sorry to those who purchased tickets and everyone in local areas.”

A new wave of infections in Japan began in April, with Tokyo and Osaka hit hardest by the recent surge. The capital was placed under a state of emergency earlier this year, and cinemas, museums and other event facilities were asked to reduce capacities.

Japan’s vaccination rollout has been slow, and just over 15% of the country is fully vaccinated, but overall the country has had relatively low case numbers and a death toll of around 14,900.


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