Tokyo Olympics Poised To Ban Foreign Spectators On Fears Of ‚Superspreader‘ Event
Now it appears that even the Olympics is the next to become a ’spectator-less‘ sporting event due to the global pandemic, following over nine months of games played in empty arenas and stadiums when it comes to professional sports from America to Europe.
While it’s clear there will be significant ’social distancing‘ restrictions placed on any spectators admitted to summer Olympic venues, Japan and the International Olympic Committee are now reportedly strongly considering having no foreign fans attend at all.
An anonymous government official notified a prominent Japanese newspaper of the „debate“ ongoing inside the committee, saying, „In the current situation it is impossible to bring in foreign spectators,“ a government official told the Japanese newspaper Mainichi.
The Associated Press on Wednesday details in its latest reporting:
The Japanese newspaper Mainichi reported Wednesday that the decision had already been made to exclude foreign fans. It cited only unnamed sources „involved in the discussions.“
„If the situation is tough and it would make the (Japanese) consumers concerned, that is a situation we need to avoid from happening,“ organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto said.
But speaking of „consumers“ this is certain to result in a blow of at least hundreds of millions of dollars lost in the absence of foreign fans. AP underscores further that, „The absence of fans could cost the games as much as $800 million more than the already billions of dollars of revenue lost.“
„We will focus on the essentials,“ another Olympic officials was cited as saying this week. „That means mainly the competitions. This has to be the clear focus. In this respect we may have to set one or another priority.“
Critics of moving forward with the games in the first place are calling it a ’super-spreader‘ event, noting that „Even without foreign fans, there will still be thousands at the Olympics when you include players, coaches, judges, media, sponsors and VIPs.“
New Tokyo Olympic organizing committee boss hints that fans from abroad unlikely https://t.co/K3ujr8CcbQ
— CBC Olympics (@CBCOlympics) March 3, 2021
Given the mulling of this drastic action we might naturally ask: what then is the point?
To review, the hasty rapid global rollout of vaccines being developed by various countries was touted as paving the way for ‚returning things to normal‘ by at least summer of 2021 (something which Western politicians have constantly pushed back in terms of timeline). Furthermore, a large number of summer Olympic sporting events actually happen outside and often spread out over large distances… will foreign spectators be barred even from these?
The argument appears to primarily rest on the Japanese public not wanting a large wave of foreign travelers and tourists entering the country. A final decision over the issue is expected by the end of March.