• Jiji


Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has shown his eagerness to have domestic spectators at this summer’s Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

At a news conference Friday, Suga pointed out that professional baseball games and soccer matches are being played in Japan with a certain number of fans allowed in the stadiums while measures are taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“It would be possible” to take such an approach for the Olympics and Paralympics, he noted, while also saying that protecting the lives and health of Japanese citizens is a priority.

Japan has decided not to allow overseas fans to attend.

Other than athletes, a total of about 78,000 people related to the Tokyo Games are expected to visit Japan during the events — 59,000 for the Olympics and 19,000 for the Paralympics. Stressing that the total number is down sharply from an initial plan of 180,000, Suga said “we will call for the figure to be reduced further” as an infection prevention step.

He said that Olympic and Paralympic officials and media people from abroad will be asked to use designated accommodation facilities to prevent them from having contact with residents of Japan. They will also be requested to only use buses and other vehicles that will be prepared specifically for them.

Those who fail to follow the requests will be deported, Suga added.

“Athletes and people related to the Olympics and Paralympics will be vaccinated against the coronavirus and thoroughly tested for possible infection,” Suga said.

“Full-fledged measures to control their activities will be in place, with malicious violations possibly leading to disqualification from the events,” the prime minister said.

The Tokyo Olympics are slated to take place between late July and early August, to be followed by the Paralympics, scheduled to be held from late August to early September. The games were postponed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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