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Tokyo Olympics can still be held without spectators, say organizers

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-07-02 21:24
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A sign for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) countermeasures is pictured during the opening of the IBC/MPC media center at Tokyo Big Sight exhibition center, ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games that were postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in Tokyo, Japan July 1, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

TOKYO - Organizers of the Tokyo Olympic Games said here on Friday that it is still possible that the postponed Games will be held without spectators because of the worsening COVID-19 situation.

"It's still unclear what the COVID-19 situation will look like since it changes from day to day, but the organizing committee will be prepared to hold the games without spectators," said Seiko Hashimoto, the president of the organizing committee, at a press conference.

Hashimoto said that another five-party meeting, attended by representatives of Tokyo 2020, IOC, IPC, the Tokyo metropolitan government and the Japanese government, will be held next Thursday to talk about the issue.

The five parties set a spectator cap at 10,000 or 50 percent of venue capacity, on June 21, the first day when the third state of emergency in Tokyo was lifted.

But since then, confirmed cases of COVID-19 have witnessed a steady increase in the Japanese capital, which had 714 new cases on Wednesday, topping 700 for the first time since May 26.

"It's not that we want to organize the Olympics with spectators at all costs," Hashimoto said. "We will follow the government standards. Unless it's safe and secure, we cannot allow spectators."

Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike did not rule out the possibility that the games could take place behind closed doors.

"We will continue to closely watch the infection situation and think what would be best, and mainly consider no spectators," Koike said.

The Tokyo Olympics will open on the night of July 23.

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