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Japan Declares Tokyo State of Emergency, May Ban Olympic Spectators
The Olympic rings are pictured at the waterfront by Odaiba Marine Park in Tokyo, in April 2021. Photo: Kim Kyung-Hoon/ Reuters.

The Japanese government has declared a state of emergency for the capital to contain the spread of Covid-19 before the Olympics start on July 23, Nikkei has said; a decision on whether to allow spectators to attend Olympic events could be made tomorrow

 

(AF) The Japanese government has declared a state of emergency for Tokyo to contain a rise in coronavirus infections just over two weeks before the opening of the Olympic Games in the capital, Nikkei magazine said on Wednesday.

The decision raises the prospect that the Olympics will be held without spectators.

Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Wednesday his government will decide with the Tokyo Olympic organizers whether to allow spectators at Olympic events following discussions on Thursday (July 8) on extending measures to halt the spread of Covid-19 infections.

Officials in Tokyo confirmed 920 Covid cases on Wednesday, which was the highest tally in the capital since May 13. Nikkei said this will be the city’s fourth emergency decree related to the coronavirus since April 2020.

‘Safety for all participants’

The Tokyo 2020 Games are striving to ensure safety for all participants by taking effective public health measures against Covid-19, Toshiro Muto, chief executive of the organising committee, said earlier on Wednesday.

Muto, addressing the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva by pre-recorded video, added: “Through the successful hosting of the Tokyo 2020 Games, we hope to show the world that people have the right to live healthier and happier lives, even in difficult circumstances.”

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach, who is due to arrive in Tokyo on Thursday from Switzerland, told the council that the global event opening in 16 days “will send a powerful message to the world of peace and solidarity”, including gender equality and diversity.

This report was updated with further details on July 7.

 

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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years and has a family in Bangkok.

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