No Spectators for Tokyo Olympics as State of Emergency Imposed

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Tokyo Olympic equestrian grand stand. Photo: Japan Business Group Equestrian Federation

July 8, 2021

No spectators will be allowed at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in two weeks as the Japanese government announced Thursday a state of emergency to deal with a continued high level of coronavirus infections. A decision on the Paralympics will be made after the Olympics.

The national and metropolitan governments, the organizing committee and International Olympic and Paralympic Committees announced the decision after a meeting to discuss the state of emergency.

“The state of emergency in Tokyo is being implemented as a measure aimed at suppressing the flow of people in order to prevent the spread of infection now, because the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases remains high and the number of people infected with variant COVID-19 strains in Tokyo is increasing,” officials said in a joint statement.

“In response to the state of emergency, stricter measures with regard to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 have also been decided by the three Japanese parties.

“No spectators will be allowed into any venues in Tokyo during the Olympic Games.”

Equestrian events–dressage, eventing and jumping–are within the Tokyo metropolitan area. Dressage is the first equestrian event on the schedule, with the horse inspection set for July 23.

In areas where emergency measures are not in force, local government authorities will decide specific measures based on the situation in each area.

“The IOC and IPC, respecting this decision, support it in the interest of safe and secure Games for everybody,” according to the statement.

“At the same time, all five parties deeply regret for the athletes and for the spectators that this measure had to be put in place for the reasons outlined above.”

Foreign spectators were banned in a decision made earlier this year. More recently, a limit of two support persons was placed on competitors, in most cases a groom and one other person.

Limits have also been placed on media with officials saying decisions will be made each day on which reporters and photographers will be able to cover events that day.