TOKYO, Japan — According to a report released on Friday by the Japanese government’s top medical adviser, the safest option to conduct the Tokyo Olympics is without any spectators.
International fans have been prohibited for several months, and organizers are expected to declare early next week if some local fans will be permitted.
The study, produced by a panel of 26 specialists chaired by Omi, a former World Health Organization official, stated, “We feel the risks of illnesses within venues would be lowest by hosting the event with no spectators.” It was presented to government authorities as well as Olympic officials.
According to widely circulating allegations, the administration is considering allowing up to 10,000 people to attend select sporting and cultural events. The Olympics are likely to follow this strategy, with lower ceilings at smaller venues and variations between indoor and outdoor venues.
“We feel it would be preferable not to have supporters inside venues,” Omi said at a press briefing after presenting the written report on Friday. “Regardless of whether the Olympics are held or not, Japan faces a recurrence of illnesses, putting pressure on medical systems.”
Putting fans in the venues, according to Omi, enhanced the risk – not only there, but also when people exited. He claims that the Olympics attract far more public attention than previous athletic events and that they are likely to spark more protests and partying.
The final decision on fans is expected to be made Monday in a meeting with organizers, the IOC, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Japanese government, and the International Paralympic Committee, according to Seiko Hashimoto, head of the local organizing committee.
If Tokyo decides to allow supporters, Hashimoto says the standards will have to be considerably tougher than they are for half-filled baseball or soccer stadiums in Japan. She also stated that if situations change, organizers must be prepared to prohibit local fans.
“Dr. Omi has stated that holding the events without spectators would be ideal – it was his proposal,” Hashimoto added. “However, if we were to host the games with spectators, Dr. Omi had some suggestions.”
Hashimoto said she spoke with baseball and soccer authorities in Japan, where games involving spectators had gone ahead without a hitch.
“However, Dr. Omi also highlighted how wonderful the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics are,” Hashimoto added. “As a result, Dr. Omi has stated that we must be stricter than the previous sporting activities.” As a result, we must consider more stringent regulations. There is a possibility that individuals will attend the games and then stop by pubs and restaurants before returning home. As a result, we propose that individuals return home immediately after viewing the games.”
Ticket sales were expected to bring approximately $800 million for the organizing group. Much of it will be gone, and government agencies will be responsible for making up the difference.
According to organizers, roughly 3.6 million-3.7 million tickets are still in the hands of Japanese citizens. Locally, over 800,000 tickets were returned.
The total number of tickets for the Olympics was initially estimated to be at 7.8 million.
The stated cost of the Tokyo Olympics is $15.4 billion, but government audits indicate that the true cost is significantly higher. Except for $6.7 billion, it’s all taxpayer money.
The IOC is pressing ahead with Tokyo, partially because broadcast rights purchases account for about 75% of its revenue. About 18% of the money comes from sponsors.
On Sunday, emergency measures in Tokyo and other prefectures will be withdrawn, while “quasi-emergency” restrictions that may limit bar and restaurant hours will remain in effect.
COVID-19 has been blamed for slightly over 14,000 fatalities in Japan, which has managed to contain the virus better than many other nations but not as effective as many in Asia. Only 15% of Japanese people have had at least one COVID-19 vaccine, and the Olympics have been met with widespread opposition.
The Asahi Shimbun, the country’s second-most widely distributed daily, has asked for the games to be called off, citing poll results that have varied depending on how the issue is framed.