• Kyodo

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Tokyo Olympics organizers are considering allowing fewer than 1,000 VIPs and foreign dignitaries to attend the games' opening ceremony in person, reducing from the already slashed figure of 10,000 and keeping the public out, sources with knowledge of the matter said Thursday.

The organizers of the Olympics, to be held under a coronavirus state of emergency declared for the Japanese capital, have been attempting to cut back the number of people physically attending the ceremony at the National Stadium on July 23, the sources said.

The Olympic opening ceremony in the 68,000-seat stadium is likely to be limited to guests connected to the games, including International Olympic Committee representatives and foreign dignitaries, while fans and sponsors' guests will be left to watch on television.

The organizing committee have already decided to hold the Olympics without spectators at venues in the capital and three surrounding prefectures as Tokyo entered a fourth state of emergency on Monday, after a surge in COVID-19 infections.

Olympic events will he held behind closed doors in Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama.

The new state of emergency, under which restaurants and bars are asked to refrain from serving alcohol, runs through the Olympics to Aug. 22.

Arrangements are being made for Japan's Emperor Naruhito to attend the Olympic opening ceremony next week and declare the games open, while U.S. first lady Jill Biden is expected to be among the international guests traveling to Tokyo for the ceremony.

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