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Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Tokyo Olympics puts off spectator decision as COVID strains spread

With new state of emergency looming, move could come in May

The National Stadium, the main venue for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics: Organizers are considering putting off a decision on spectators as COVID cases rise in Japan.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Organizers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics are weighing whether to delay until May or later a decision over restrictions on domestic spectators at the games, Nikkei has learned, as new COVID-19 variants spread in Japan.

The Tokyo 2020 organizing committee is set to propose delay a decision on spectators at a five-party meeting of the committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the central government, the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee to be held at the end of April.

In March, the organizing committee decided to bar foreign spectators and said it would determine the maximum number of domestic spectators in April. The committee decided it would be difficult to reach an early decision because highly contagious strains of the coronavirus have spread in Japan.

In response, the Osaka prefectural government on Tuesday officially decided to ask the government to declare a third state of emergency. Tokyo is preparing to follow suit. If the state of emergency is extended beyond the Golden Week holiday in May, it will be difficult to determine how to handle the question of domestic spectators at the Tokyo Olympics, and the final decision will be postponed to June.

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