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Tokyo 2020 Chief: Olympics Could Have 'Limited Spectators' to Prevent Virus Spread

Tokyo 2020 Chief: Olympics Could Have 'Limited Spectators' to Prevent Virus Spread

Thursday, 30 July, 2020 - 06:15
Tokyo 2020 organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto. AFP
Asharq Al-Awsat

The Tokyo 2020 games are now scheduled to open on July 23, 2021, after a historic postponement forced by the global march of the pandemic.


However, the postponed Olympics could be held in front of a "limited number of spectators" to prevent the spread of infection, Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshiro Muto has said.


Muto told BBC Sports that organizers were committed to holding the event in 2021, with no discussion of cancelling or postponing it further.


"Everyone should focus on holding the event next year -- we're on the same page."


He said International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach was "not looking for" a Games held without any fans, but acknowledged smaller audiences might be possible, AFP reported.


"He may be thinking about a limited number of spectators with full consideration of social distancing," Muto said.


"We must build an environment where people feel safe. Athletes and the IOC family may require testing before/after entering Japan and (we need) strong medical systems around accommodation and transportation plans," he added.


Japan currently bans visitors from more than 100 countries in a bid to limit the spread of the virus and Muto said it was "too optimistic to assume all restrictions will be gone, so we must think of other ways."


It has so far seen experienced a comparatively small coronavirus outbreak, but infections have been on the rise, particularly in the capital.


Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, speaking to Japan's Kyodo news agency on Wednesday, warned that "containing the new coronavirus inside the capital is a prerequisite" for holding the Games.


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