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48 minutes ago, Barcelona_'92 said:

I never thought I’d see this day - NBC will air the opening ceremony live in the morning.  On actual NBC.

(If it happens.)

https://nbcsportsgrouppressbox.com/2021/02/10/nbc-olympics-to-provide-unprecedented-network-coverage-of-tokyo-olympics-opening-ceremony/

excited_stewie_family_guy.gif

That was a welcome surprise from NBC this morning.  Glad to see them making a progressive decision.

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15 minutes ago, TorchbearerSydney said:

Q: NBC will air the opening ceremony live in the morning

Welcome to the rest of the world!

( I live in Adelaide, (basically) the same time zone as Tokyo!)

To say this is long overdue is an understatement.  But still nice to see NBC doing it.

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Transport issues for "high number" of media is pressing challenge for Tokyo 2020 organisers

Credit: Inside The Games

By Mike Rowbottom

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Finding alternative transportation for members of the "high number of accredited press" not staying at official Tokyo 2020 hotels is a key challenge for organisers of this summer’s re-scheduled Games following the likely ruling that public transport will not be available to them.

Speaking at today’s virtual briefing for media stakeholders at the Games, which sought to offer clarification on points included in the "playbook" of proposed COVID pandemic-related safety measures released earlier this month, the International Olympic Committee's head of media operations Lucia Montanarella commented:

"We are really working with Press Operation and Transport in Tokyo on the issue of people who have not booked their accommodation through Tokyo 2020.

"So we know there is a high number of accredited press who are staying in different locations.

"We are discussing right now how to cover this gap, meaning that we are fully aware that if access to public transport is not there, we need to have an alternative for these people to move around.

"One thing that is very important is that for those who are not staying in media hotels it would be recommended that you inform Press Operations of where you are staying because then we will understand how we can provide some additional services.

"Also the structure of the media transport in Tokyo is such that there are meeting points that are grouping some media hotels.

"With some luck your accommodation might be quite close to one of these points and you can be fully using the media transport system…

"The challenge now is finding solutions for some level of transport for people who have not chosen to stay in official media hotels."

Pierre Ducroy, the Olympic Games operations director, added: "We understand the language in the playbook right now is not giving you the answer you want.

"We are discussing with the Government regarding access to public transport to make sure that if there is a decision from the Government that this has to be restricted then we want to have alternative plans which we are working through right now with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee.

"We do not have yet a confirmation if some portion of the population may be or may not be allowed to travel on public transport."

Current instructions to press maintain will be prevented from using public transport "unless given permission".

Further information on this area is expected in the lead-up to the next edition of updates to the playbook that is due to be publicised in April.

Asked about who would pay the costs of the COVID-19 testing required by media and other stakeholders before and after their arrival in Japan, Tokyo 2020 Games delivery officer Hide Nakamura responded:

"Upon entry to Japan, under domestic rules, necessary tests have to be conducted, and if they are necessary the Japanese authorities will look after the cost.

"Anything additional, that will be something that we will have to consult over.

"But the test 72-hours before your coming into to Japan - that test is something you will have to cover the cost of yourself."

The press - like athletes and International Federation and technical officials - have also been banned from visiting tourist areas, shops, restaurant or bars and gyms.

Asked how journalists not in official media hotels could access food in these circumstances, Nakamura responded that further clarification would be available by April.

Acknowledging that it was an "important" and "difficult" issue, he added:

"Our current thinking is that rather than eating in restaurants there will be less contact, so I think it is possible for securing food and eating fast food.

"But we will sort out the factors with the Government and will have conclusions by April.

"This is not just applicable to press people, but all stakeholders."

Explaining the requirement for media members to fill in an activity plan for their first 14 days in Japan, Ducroy said the measure "explains precisely for the needs of your job where you need to go.

"So it is not a quarantine, it’s simply a way to monitor the activities that you will be doing in that window, that they are strictly focused on your professional duties."

"The principles of the playbook do not stop at the end of the activity plan.”

It was confirmed that even if media members arriving in Japan have had COVID-19 vaccinations, the playbook rules "will still be applicable" to them.

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On 2/9/2021 at 9:05 AM, Palette86 said:

So Mori is out, his supposed successor, one year older even, getting cold feet.

These Olympics are really like a headless chicken now. Still running around without realising they‘re actually dead.

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Kawabuchi “exhausted” after top Olympic organizing job chaos

Credit: Kyodo News

Saturday, 13 February 2021 - 22:32

TOKYO - Saburo Kawabuchi said Saturday he feels "exhausted" after the whirlwind of attention as he was considered to replace outgoing Tokyo Olympic organizing committee chief Yoshiro Mori only to turn down the position.

Kawabuchi said he was willing to take on the job Thursday after he was singled out by Mori, whose sexist remarks in a Japanese Olympic Committee meeting raised a firestorm of criticism and led to his resignation. Government and public criticism over the transparency of the former Japan Football Association president's selection, however, made Kawabuchi change his mind and turn down the job on Friday.

”I feel refreshed now, so you can rest assured...but as one would expect I feel exhausted," tweeted the 84-year-old.

The choice of Mori's successor has now gone back to the drawing board with Fujio Mitarai, the chairman of Canon Inc. and the honorary head of the organizing committee, to set up a selection panel.

 

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Good. What the organizing comittee needs now are young people. Not a bunch of old boomers with ultraconservative views. I always felt they were part of most of the problems these games (which everyday I feel more and more like they are cursed since its inception) had so many issues.

To think I was so overconfident 7 years ago when Tokyo was elected that nothing would go wrong. Japan reputation for organization skill has taken a very bad blow.

 

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Olympic venues reported safe after northeastern Japan earthquake

Credit: Kyodo News

 Sunday , 14 February 2021 - 17:55

TOKYO - Three Tokyo Olympic venues north and east of the capital were reported undamaged Sunday following a magnitude 7.3 earthquake that struck northeastern Japan the night before, the Olympic organizing committee said.

Fukushima Prefecture and neighboring Miyagi Prefecture, both hard hit by the massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, will host Olympic events to promote regional reconstruction.

Azuma Stadium, in the city of Fukushima, will host baseball and softball games, while Miyagi Stadium, northeast of Sendai, will host Olympic soccer. Another soccer venue, Ibaraki Prefecture's Kashima Stadium, was also declared undamaged as were all of their respective temporary facilities.

The organizing committee said thorough surveys of the sites would be undertaken as early as Monday and it would continue to cooperate with local governments as preparations continue for the Olympics, opening on July 23.

The starting point of the Olympic torch relay, Fukushima's J-Village national soccer training center, also appeared undamaged by the quake.

The torch relay is to commence on March 25 and the committee said it would check on the status of the relay route "as preparations go forward in cooperation with local executive committees."

 

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Seiko Hashimoto takes over as Tokyo Olympics president

It’s official. Olympic medalist Seiko Hashimoto is the new chief of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee.

“As a former athlete myself, I believe my mission is to bring about an Olympics that places priority on safety for all participants and to change the mood in society so all athletes can step on their dream stage without any doubts in their mind,” Hashimoto said at a news conference on Feb. 18 after being named the new organizing committee president. “I will seek to accomplish this mission while clearly taking the stance of ‘athletes first.’”

Hashimoto told reporters earlier that she informed Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of her decision to accept the offer and submitted her resignation as state minister in charge of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Regulations prohibit ministers from holding concurrent positions outside of government.

She said Suga told her to do her best so the Tokyo Olympics will become an event that all Japanese can welcome. He pledged to provide the government's total support, she said.

Suga named Upper House member Tamayo Marukawa as state minister in charge of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, a post she previously held under then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Hashimoto, 56, succeeds Yoshiro Mori, 83, the former prime minister who was forced to resign after an international uproar arose over his sexist remarks.

Eight members of the candidate selection committee within the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee held their third meeting on the morning of Feb. 18 and settled on Hashimoto as their choice.

The selection committee recommended her candidacy at a meeting of executive board members of the organizing committee on the afternoon of Feb. 18. The board members approved of the choice.

A meeting of councilors of the organizing committee then formally selected Hashimoto as an executive board member because the organizing chief’s post must go to such members.

Another meeting of executive board members elected her president of the organizing committee.

“I have been given a very heavy responsibility,” Hashimoto said at that meeting. “While it was a very major decision for me to resign as a state minister, I appear at this forum because of my total commitment to making every effort for a successful Tokyo Olympics.”

Organizing committee officials also announced on Feb. 18 that Mori had resigned as both president and executive board member as of Feb. 12.

Hashimoto has been closely linked to the Olympics from the time she was born. Born five days before the Opening Ceremony of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Hashimoto was named Seiko because her father was deeply moved by the Olympic torch relay around Japan.

She competed in seven Olympics, both winter and summer. At the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics, she became the first Japanese woman to win a medal in speed skating, taking the bronze in the 1,500-meter event.

She was elected to the Upper House in 1995, running under the ruling Liberal Democratic Party banner. But she continued her athletic training and took part in the Atlanta Olympics the following year in a cycling event.

Hashimoto gave birth to a daughter in 2000, the year of the Sydney Olympics. The daughter’s name, Seika, is the Japanese reading of the characters for the Olympic flame.

Around that time, debate arose about the lack of maternity leave for lawmakers.

Pushed by Hashimoto’s pregnancy, the Upper House that year approved “giving birth” as a legitimate reason for being absent from a session, which served as a catalyst for parental leave for Diet members.

Date:February 18, 2021

News source:The Asahi Shimbun

Link to this article:http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14200290

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On 2/11/2021 at 4:40 AM, AustralianFan said:

Transport issues for "high number" of media is pressing challenge for Tokyo 2020 organisers

Credit: Inside The Games

By Mike Rowbottom

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Finding alternative transportation for members of the "high number of accredited press" not staying at official Tokyo 2020 hotels is a key challenge for organisers of this summer’s re-scheduled Games following the likely ruling that public transport will not be available to them.

Speaking at today’s virtual briefing for media stakeholders at the Games, which sought to offer clarification on points included in the "playbook" of proposed COVID pandemic-related safety measures released earlier this month, the International Olympic Committee's head of media operations Lucia Montanarella commented:

"We are really working with Press Operation and Transport in Tokyo on the issue of people who have not booked their accommodation through Tokyo 2020.

"So we know there is a high number of accredited press who are staying in different locations.

"We are discussing right now how to cover this gap, meaning that we are fully aware that if access to public transport is not there, we need to have an alternative for these people to move around.

"One thing that is very important is that for those who are not staying in media hotels it would be recommended that you inform Press Operations of where you are staying because then we will understand how we can provide some additional services.

"Also the structure of the media transport in Tokyo is such that there are meeting points that are grouping some media hotels.

"With some luck your accommodation might be quite close to one of these points and you can be fully using the media transport system…

"The challenge now is finding solutions for some level of transport for people who have not chosen to stay in official media hotels."

Pierre Ducroy, the Olympic Games operations director, added: "We understand the language in the playbook right now is not giving you the answer you want.

"We are discussing with the Government regarding access to public transport to make sure that if there is a decision from the Government that this has to be restricted then we want to have alternative plans which we are working through right now with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee.

"We do not have yet a confirmation if some portion of the population may be or may not be allowed to travel on public transport."

Current instructions to press maintain will be prevented from using public transport "unless given permission".

Further information on this area is expected in the lead-up to the next edition of updates to the playbook that is due to be publicised in April.

Asked about who would pay the costs of the COVID-19 testing required by media and other stakeholders before and after their arrival in Japan, Tokyo 2020 Games delivery officer Hide Nakamura responded:

"Upon entry to Japan, under domestic rules, necessary tests have to be conducted, and if they are necessary the Japanese authorities will look after the cost.

"Anything additional, that will be something that we will have to consult over.

"But the test 72-hours before your coming into to Japan - that test is something you will have to cover the cost of yourself."

The press - like athletes and International Federation and technical officials - have also been banned from visiting tourist areas, shops, restaurant or bars and gyms.

Asked how journalists not in official media hotels could access food in these circumstances, Nakamura responded that further clarification would be available by April.

Acknowledging that it was an "important" and "difficult" issue, he added:

"Our current thinking is that rather than eating in restaurants there will be less contact, so I think it is possible for securing food and eating fast food.

"But we will sort out the factors with the Government and will have conclusions by April.

"This is not just applicable to press people, but all stakeholders."

Explaining the requirement for media members to fill in an activity plan for their first 14 days in Japan, Ducroy said the measure "explains precisely for the needs of your job where you need to go.

"So it is not a quarantine, it’s simply a way to monitor the activities that you will be doing in that window, that they are strictly focused on your professional duties."

"The principles of the playbook do not stop at the end of the activity plan.”

It was confirmed that even if media members arriving in Japan have had COVID-19 vaccinations, the playbook rules "will still be applicable" to them.

Banned from public transportation? What are the Japanese playing at here? Who holds an international event and then bans international media from public transportation? 

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Tokyo reports fewer than 200 new COVID-19 cases for first time since November

Credit: Inside The Games

By Ali Iveson

Monday, 22 February 2021

Tokyo has reported fewer than 200 new COVID-19 cases in a day for the first time in almost three months. 

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government said that 178 people had tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hours, out of 5,197 tests.

It is an indication that authorities in the Japanese capital are starting to have success in their attempts to contain the spread of the virus, although nationally the seven-day average of daily deaths remains above 70.

November 24 was the last time Tokyo - which remains under a state of emergency - reported fewer than 200 new COVID-19 cases in a day.

While the International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 remain adamant the Games will go ahead as planned in the Japanese capital this year, an upturn in the health situation increases the likelihood of that happening.

Crucially, it may also lead to increased public support for the Olympics and Paralympics.

Recent polls have suggested the majority of Japanese people believe the event should either be postponed again or cancelled.

The rollout of a vaccination programme is another welcome development for Tokyo 2020, but Japan's Vaccine Minister Taro Kono yesterday warned that inoculation of the elderly would only start "little by little" because of a shortage of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine until May.

That vaccine - which needs to be stored in an ultra-cold freezer - was approved for use in Japan earlier this month, and the country has started to vaccinate healthcare workers.

The Olympic Opening Ceremony is scheduled for July 23, and a decision on whether spectators will be able to attend events is yet to be taken.

An athletes' playbook written by organisers spells out how they can be expected to be tested for COVID-19 at least every four days, must wear a face covering when not competing, eating or training, will be expected not to to shout or sing and also must arrive in Tokyo no earlier than five days before their event and depart a maximum of two days after.

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Tokyo Olympics weigh ban on overseas spectators over COVID fears

The organizing committee for the Tokyo Olympics is considering barring international spectators from attending the games to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Nikkei has learned.

With less than five months before the games are to start, the rise of new coronavirus variants around the world has become a concern for organizers who are trying to hold a "safe and secure" Olympics.

Stakeholders for the games, including Japan's Olympics minister Tamayo Marukawa, chief organizer Seiko Hashimoto, Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike and IOC President Thomas Bach, agreed at a Wednesday meeting to make a final call on overseas spectators by the end of this month.

Up to 1 million spectators were originally expected to attend the Tokyo Games, which were postponed last year because of the pandemic. Visitors from countries and regions with a small number of COVID cases may still be allowed to enter Japan during the games.

Organizers also plan to decide on the maximum number of spectators at each venue next month. The capacity limits will abide by the Japanese government's guidelines regarding large events.

"We are doing everything to ensure the safety of the games for all participants," Bach told reporters on Wednesday. "But again, also for the Japanese people and for the population of Tokyo in particular."

Marukawa said the spread of new virus variants was hard to predict. "Given the extremely difficult situation we are in, I said [at the meeting] that we need to carefully weigh our options," she said.

Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Wednesday that the government was "not considering" barring spectators from abroad.

Organizers plan to first make a decision regarding overseas spectators to shore up public support for the Tokyo Games. Many in Japan worry that an influx of travelers from abroad could accelerate the virus' spread and overwhelm medical facilities in the country.

In terms of the number of spectators allowed, Tokyo and other areas under Japan's coronavirus state of emergency currently cap attendees of sports games at 5,000 or 50% of maximum capacity, whichever is smaller. The 50% ceiling is expected to remain in effect in greater Tokyo until at least the end of next month.

"We can't give special treatment to the Olympics," a government official said. "The decision will depend on the restrictions in effect at the time."

On Wednesday, the Asia editor of British newspaper The Times became the latest to call for the games to be canceled.

"If far smaller and shorter festivals are to be sacrificed in the interests of global public health, it seems obvious that such a massive event, spread over four weeks in the biggest city in the world, should also be cancelled," wrote Tokyo-based Richard Lloyd Parry, citing the cancellation of the Glastonbury music festival.

Date:March 3, 2021

News source: Nikkei Asia

Link to this article:https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Tokyo-2020-Olympics/Tokyo-Olympics-weigh-ban-on-overseas-spectators-over-COVID-fears

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yup, this was coming.  Entirely predictable.  Once the Johnson & Johnson vaccine gets going full swing, start poking the Olympic athletes.  Domestic Japanese fans is a bonus if they can swing that.  It will be an undertaking to get the olympic athletes and staff poked, but, what seemed impossible now is seeming more probable if things are done aggressively and quickly, this can get done.  

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Japan to keep foreign spectators away from Tokyo Olympics, sources say

Japan has decided to stage this summer’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics without overseas spectators due to public concern about COVID-19, two government sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

The Olympics, postponed by a year because of the pandemic, are scheduled for July 23 to Aug. 8 and the Paralympics from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has said a decision on spectators would be made by the end of March.

The government has concluded that welcoming fans from abroad would not be possible given public concern about the coronavirus and the detection of more contagious variants in many countries, the people said, declining to be identified because the information is not public.

Kyodo News, which reported the decision on Tuesday, said the opening ceremony of the torch relay on March 25 would also take place without spectators.

“The organising committee has decided it is essential to hold the ceremony in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima behind closed doors, only permitting participants and invitees to take part in the event, to avoid large crowds forming amid the pandemic,” Kyodo said, quoting the officials.

The Tokyo organising committee said a decision would be made based on “factors including the state of infections in Japan and other countries, possible epidemic-prevention measures, and expert scientific advice.”

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto has said she wants a decision made on before the start of the torch relay on whether to allow overseas spectators.

‘TRADE-OFF’

Sebastian Coe, the man behind the 2012 London Olympics which enjoyed sell-out crowds, and now President of World Athletics, said the goal has always been to ensure “the best possible games for the athletes and having full stadiums of passionate people”, preferably with a “good global presence”.

“With all the work being done around vaccinations and the huge sacrifices large parts of the world have made over the last year, I would hope that fans (international and domestic) will be able to attend (the Tokyo Olympics), of course it would be better,” he told Reuters.

“However, if local communities are concerned, then athletes will accept that and it is a trade-off they are prepared for.”

Figures released in December had projected ticket sales would contribute $800 million for the Tokyo organising committee, or about 12% of its budget. Local ticket sales have typically accounted for 70-80% of ticket sales at past Olympics.

In the last Olympic Games, the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, local fans accounted for 80% of all ticket sales, with international fans buying 20%.

Most Japanese people do not want international visitors to attend the Games amid fears that a large influx could spark a resurgence of coronavirus infections, a Yomiuri newspaper poll showed this week.

The survey showed 77% of respondents were against allowing foreign fans to attend, versus 18% in favour.

Some 48% said they were against allowing any spectators into venues and 45% were in favour.

While coronavirus infection numbers have been relatively low in Japan compared with the United States and many European countries, the country has been hit hard by the third wave of the pandemic and Tokyo remains under a state of emergency.

Japan has recorded more than 441,200 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic and more than 8,300 deaths.

Date:March 9,2021

News source:Reuters

Link to this article:https://www.reuters.com/article/us-olympics-2020-spectators-idUSKBN2B11FQ

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It's sad that the 'normal' foreign spectators are likely to be banned and the foreign spectators from sponsors, media, IOC, NOCs etc will be welcome. 

How many foreign spectaros exactly normally are visiting the Olympics? There are 1 million tickets available for overseas visitors. It's lilely visitors have more tickets per person, so maybe around 150,000 to 200,000? Except the sponsor guests etc.

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Japan to exclude overseas spectators from Tokyo Olympics
Decision on domestic viewers expected to be made separately in April

 

Organizers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics on Saturday agreed to hold the games without overseas spectators in an effort to prevent COVID-19 infections.

The "unavoidable decision" was initiated by Japanese government officials, who informed the International Olympic and Paralympic Committees at a Saturday meeting. Foreign arrivals this summer will be limited to athletes and support staff, games officials, accredited media, and sponsors with operational roles at the games.

"The parties on the Japanese side concluded that no free entry from overseas may be granted this summer," Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto told reporters after the meeting. "This decision is to give clarity to people so they can still adjust their travel plans at this stage," she added.

Tickets purchased overseas -- about 600,000 for the Olympics and 300,000 for the Paralympics -- will be reimbursed. But hotels and flights separately booked by spectators will be out of scope for reimbursement.

The decision came a day before Japan was due to lift the state of emergency in the Tokyo area. National and city government officials met virtually with Tokyo 2020 organizers, IOC President Thomas Bach and IPC President Andrew Parsons.

Organizers emphasized the decision came out of respect for the people in the host country. "Our first priority remains the safety of all participants of the Olympic games and of course the Japanese people," said Bach. "That means we will have to make difficult decisions, which may need sacrifices from everybody."

The absence of foreign spectators will be a blow to Japan, which has invested more than $12 billion into hosting the Olympics. Tokyo organizers had sold 900,000 tickets overseas and 3.6 million in Japan for the games. In the latest budget report, Tokyo 2020 estimated its ticket revenue would be 90 billion yen ($830 million). Overseas ticket sales usually accounted for at least 10% of total ticket sales in past games, thus 10 billion yen of revenue is expected to be lost due to the decision.

Japan's borders have been closed to nonresident foreigners since Jan. 7, when Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared a second state of emergency following a winter spike of COVID-19 infections. While Japan has created a special entry track for athletes, who need only International Olympic Committee accreditation to enter the host country, spectators entering on tourist visas are another matter.

"We could have waited until the very last moment to decide, but for the spectators for the 2020 games, they have to secure accommodation, flights and so forth. So we decided it would cause a lot of inconvenience for them," said Hashimoto.

It remains unclear whether organizers can restrict the number of spectators at the venue. Japan currently restricts the number of spectators to 5,000 at large events -- less than 10% of the Tokyo Olympic Stadium's 68,000-seat capacity.

Organizers said the final decision on domestic spectators will come in April. If restrictions are set, Tokyo 2020's revenue will be further reduced. This could mean a further investment of taxpayer funding if the Tokyo Metropolitan Government -- or the national government, if necessary -- has to cover the organizing committee's budget deficit.

Date:20 March,2021

News source:Nikkei Asia

Link to this article:https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Tokyo-2020-Olympics/Japan-to-exclude-overseas-spectators-from-Tokyo-Olympics

 

 

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Just pull the plug entirely. The recent indoor European athletics champs in Poland produced more than 50 corona cases, the fencing World Cup in Budapest another 30. And both events claimed to have athletes bubbles.

If they couldn’t manage, how will a much larger Olympics deal with this? And don’t tell me every participant and official will be vaccinated by then...

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1 hour ago, StefanMUC said:

Just pull the plug entirely. The recent indoor European athletics champs in Poland produced more than 50 corona cases, the fencing World Cup in Budapest another 30. And both events claimed to have athletes bubbles.

If they couldn’t manage, how will a much larger Olympics deal with this? And don’t tell me every participant and official will be vaccinated by then...

So the Japanese organizers should pull the plug because someone else did a **** job of managing their event?  Sports leagues and organizations have managed to do this without dozens of cases.  Yes, it's a near impossible task to do for an event on the scale of the Olympics, but can we please stop over-reacting as if the only solution is to cancel the Olympics?

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