The situation surrounding the Tokyo Olympics, having already been postponed from 2020 to 2021, continues to get more serious. As Japan deals with COVID-19 issues entering the summer, yet another element of the already-altered games looks to be in serious jeopardy.
According to the Associated Press, Tokyo Olympic organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto stated on Friday that local fans in Japan may be barred from attending the Olympics. Foreign fans have already been barred from attending the Games due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
The prospect of not allowing any fans at all to attend the Olympics became more likely as the Japanese government decided to extend a state of emergency in multiple prefectures until June 20.
"We would like to make a decision as soon as possible (on fans), but after the state of emergency is lifted we will assess," Hashimoto said.
Hashimoto claimed that among the factors that will be considered on fan attendance will be the fact that other sports have begun to accept spectators, as well as the potential for local medical services to be affected.
The Tokyo Olympics are in a difficult position during the continued pandemic, as public sentiment in Japan has turned decisively against the games being held. One poll cited by the Associated Press claimed that 60-80% of Japanese respondents want the games called off.
Pressure to cancel the Olympics largely centers around the sheer magnitude of international travel to Japan, a historically closed-off nation which has largely shut its borders during the pandemic. Presently, more than 15,000 athletes from 200 countries are slated to travel to Japan for the games.