Uncertainty abounds as Tokyo delays fan decision


Police officers walk to guard during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch relay amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Seiyo, Ehime Prefecture, Japan, April 22, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

Ruling on venue capacity postponed as Japan struggles to contain coronavirus

Japanese residents with tickets to the Tokyo Olympics may not know until weeks before the Games open if they'll be allowed to attend.

Fans from abroad have already been barred, and on Wednesday organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto said a decision on venue capacity-or if there will be any fans at all, or just empty venues-may not be made until June. She had previously promised that decision for this month.

"We are still studying the timing,"Hashimoto said at a news conference in Tokyo after she and CEO Toshiro Muto finished an online, closed-door briefing with the International Olympic Committee executive board in Switzerland.

She said that June "was an option". "I guess we need a little more time to make a proper judgment," she added.

Government minister Taro Kano, who is in charge of the vaccine rollout in Japan, hinted last week that empty venues seemed likely as COVID-19 surges across Japan.

Hashimoto's backpedaling is typical of the ever-changing planning as virus cases rise in Japan with Tokyo's postponed Olympics set to open in three months in the midst of a pandemic.

Hashimoto acknowledged the low public support in Japan for going ahead with the Olympics, particularly since less than 1 percent of the population has been vaccinated. Polls repeatedly show 70-80 percent are opposed to going ahead with the Games.

"In local municipalities the situations are rather dire," Hashimoto said. "And in this context, Japanese citizens and residents have worries and concerns. For the safety and security of the Games, we must contain the spread of the virus as soon as possible."

Many of the worries now center around the torch relay.

On Thursday, organizers said that a policeman tested positive for COVID-19 a day after his assignment last week at the relay.

It was the first positive test connected to the relay since it began March 25 from northeastern Fukushima prefecture.

Organizers said the policeman, who is in his 30s, was assigned to control traffic on the April 17 leg in southwestern Kagawa prefecture. Local health authorities are investigating. Officials say the policeman was wearing a mask and taking social-distancing precautions and other measures.

Legs last week were run in a city park in Osaka and taken off the public streets. Something similar is expected for some legs on May 1-2 on the southern island of Okinawa.

The torch relay involves a total of 10,000 runners crisscrossing Japan until it arrives on July 23 at the opening ceremony in Tokyo. Organizers have warned that it may require further rerouting as conditions change.

Osaka and Tokyo were expected to come under new emergency orders this week. Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike has said measures needed to be taken "as soon as possible" to stem the spread. And Hashimoto acknowledged they were likely to come quickly into force.

Japan has attributed more than 9,600 deaths to COVID-19, good by global standards but poor by standards in Asia.

"If the coronavirus infection keeps getting worse, it's no time to be holding the Olympics," Kotaro Nagasaki, the governor of Yamanashi prefecture, said this week.

Yamanashi, the home of Mount Fuji, is located southwest of Tokyo.

Some Tokyo test events are also being postponed or rescheduled. Many that are going forward are being held without athletes-so-called operational events-or with only Japanese athletes.

An artistic swimming qualifying event in Tokyo that was first scheduled for earlier in the year, and then pushed back to early May, will now be held outside of Japan in June, swimming governing body FINA said in a statement.

It had to be moved, partially because a FINA diving event is set to take place in Tokyo from May 1-6 at the new Olympic swimming venue. It is to be held without fans, and will feature divers from abroad.

Olympic Minister Tamayo Marukawa last week said that all athletes might need to be tested daily during the Games. Japan's Kyodo news agency on Tuesday reported that daily saliva tests for athletes are being planned, quoting "officials with knowledge of the planning".

Hashimoto confirmed that "in principle, testing will be daily". Early plans had called for tests every four days.

This change is likely to appear in the second edition of the "Playbook", which is set to be published by the end of the month.

So far, the guide has established vague rules for 15,400 Olympic and Paralympic athletes and tens of thousands of others-judges, officials, media and broadcasters-for when they enter Japan.

A final edition of the Playbook is set to be published in June.

Japanese athletes have yet to be vaccinated, and officials repeatedly say there is no plan to do so. There would almost certainly be strong public opposition to any plan to push young athletes ahead of the elderly, medical workers and other vulnerable communities.


由于日本努力遏制冠状病毒,场馆容量的裁决被推迟

持有东京奥运会门票的日本居民可能要到奥运会开幕前几周才知道他们是否被允许参加。

来自国外的粉丝已经被禁止进入,周三,组委会主席桥本精工说,关于场地容量的决定——或者是否会有粉丝,或者只是空着的场地——可能要到6月份才能做出。她此前曾承诺在本月做出这一决定。

“我们仍在研究时机,”桥本在东京的新闻发布会上说,此前她和首席执行官武藤俊弘在瑞士与国际奥委会执行委员会完成了一次在线闭门简报。

她说六月“是一个选择”。“我想我们需要多一点时间来做出正确的判断,”她补充道。

负责疫苗在日本推广的政府部长菅太郎(Taro Kano)上周暗示,随着新冠肺炎疫情席卷日本,空场地似乎是可能的。

桥本的退缩是不断变化的计划的典型,因为日本的病毒病例在增加,东京推迟的奥运会将在三个月后在大流行中开幕。

桥本承认日本公众对举办奥运会的支持度很低,尤其是因为只有不到1%的人口接种了疫苗。民意调查一再显示,70-80%的人反对继续举办奥运会。

桥本说:“在地方自治市,情况相当糟糕。“在这种背景下,日本公民和居民都有担忧和担忧。为了奥运会的安全和保障,我们必须尽快遏制病毒的传播。”

许多担忧现在都集中在火炬传递上。

周四,组织者称,一名警察在上周被指派参加接力赛一天后,新冠肺炎的检测呈阳性。

这是自3月25日从福岛县东北部开始以来,第一次与继电器相关的阳性测试。

组织者说,这名30多岁的警察被指派在4月17日的行程中控制香川县西南部的交通。当地卫生部门正在调查。官员们说,这名警察戴着面具,并采取了社交距离预防措施和其他措施。

上周双腿在大阪的一个城市公园跑步,并从公共街道上取下。预计5月1日至2日,冲绳岛南部的一些路段也会出现类似的情况。

火炬传递共有10,000名火炬手,他们穿梭于日本各地,直到7月23日抵达东京的开幕式。组织者警告说,随着情况的变化,可能需要进一步改道。

大阪和东京预计将在本周接到新的紧急订单。东京州长小池百合子表示,需要“尽快”采取措施遏制疫情蔓延。桥本承认这些法案可能会很快生效。

日本将超过9600例死亡归因于新冠肺炎,按全球标准来看是好的,但按亚洲标准来看是差的。

山梨县县长小太郎·长崎本周表示:“如果冠状病毒感染继续恶化,就没时间举办奥运会了。”。

富士山的故乡山梨县位于东京西南。

一些东京测试项目也被推迟或重新安排。许多正在进行的比赛都是在没有运动员的情况下举行的,也就是所谓的操作性比赛,或者只有日本运动员参加。

游泳管理机构FINA在一份声明中表示,原定于今年早些时候在东京举行的艺术游泳资格赛,将推迟到5月初举行,现在将于6月在日本境外举行。

它不得不被移走,部分原因是FINA跳水比赛将于5月1日至6日在东京新的奥运游泳场馆举行。它将在没有粉丝的情况下举行,将有来自国外的潜水员参加。

奥林匹克部长丸川泰马约上周表示,在奥运会期间,所有运动员可能需要每天接受测试。日本共同社(Kyodo news agency)周二报道称,正在计划对运动员进行每日唾液测试,并引用了“了解该计划的官员”的话。

桥本证实“原则上每天都会检测”。早期的计划要求每四天进行一次测试。

这一变化很可能出现在定于本月底出版的《行动手册》第二版中。

到目前为止,该指南已经为15400名奥运会和残奥会运动员以及数万名其他运动员——法官、官员、媒体和广播人员——进入日本制定了模糊的规则。

剧本的最终版本将于6月出版。

日本运动员尚未接种疫苗,官员一再表示没有接种计划。几乎可以肯定,公众会强烈反对任何将年轻运动员置于老年人、医务工作者和其他弱势群体之前的计划。



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