Japan Reportedly Considering Banning Spectators at Olympics, Readies Tokyo State of Emergency

Reuters reports that authorities could a state of emergency for the capital city in an attempt to further stop the spread of COVID-19, as well as ban all spectators from attending events. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Wednesday, that the government will determine what measures it will enforce Thursday. Whether spectators can attend the games remains to be seen, though organizers have already banned overseas spectators and set a 50 percent capacity cap at all events.

“Politically speaking, having no spectators is now unavoidable,” a source from Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party told the outlet. Public broadcaster NHK said in a news report on Wednesday that the government has already communicated that it intends to declare Tokyo’s fourth state of emergency ahead of the games. It’s expected to be in place until Aug. 22.

Just last month, Japan announced it would be easing the state of emergency in Tokyo and six other areas in the country, per the Associated Press. At the time, Suga said that if further surges happen within the country, “we will quickly take action, including strengthening of the measures.” On Wednesday, Tokyo reported 920 new daily cases, the highest figure from the city since May 13. Only a quarter of the country’s population has had at least one COVID-19 vaccination shot.

As the Japan Times reported earlier this month, Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police Department is preparing to respond to expected anti-Olympic Games protests following strong opposition from the public and prominent figures in the medical community. “We have been saying that it’s preferable that the events be held without spectators,” said Japan’s top health adviser Shigeru Omi. “We are asking many people to take steps to prevent further spread of the infection. Images of spectators would be sending out a contradictory message.”

source: complex.com BYJOE PRICE

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