The Tokyo 2020 Olympics organisers agreed on Thursday to hold the Games without spectators after Japan announced an emergency state, which will last throughout the event. Following discussions between the government, Tokyo organisers, and Olympic and Paralympic representatives, the widely anticipated move was made.
It was "unfortunate" that the Games would be held in a limited format, Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto said at a press conference, apologising to those who had purchased tickets.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga stated that it was critical to keep Tokyo away from the highly infectious Delta COVID-19 variant.
The ban effectively deprives the Tokyo Games, which are set to take place from July 23 to August 8. The showpiece event once viewed as a chance for Japan to assert itself on the global stage following a devastating earthquake a decade ago was delayed by the pandemic last year and has been plagued by massive budget overruns.
For weeks, medical experts have said that no spectators would be the safest option, amid widespread public fear that an influx of thousands of athletes and officials would fuel a new wave of infections.