After a week ago it was first revealed that the Tokyo 2020 games organizing committee (to take place this summer, 2021 in late July to August.8) was seriously mulling barring all foreign spectators from attending the games on pandemic fears of a 'superspreader' event, Japan has confirmed that it will keep all overseas spectators away in a move expected to cause a hundreds of millions of dollars loss - possibly into billions - in revenue.
Reuters reports on Tuesday, "Japan has decided to stage this summer’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics without overseas spectators due to public concern about COVID-19, Kyodo news agency said on Tuesday, citing officials with knowledge of the matter."
The Japanese public has been cited since reports first emerged last week as overwhelmingly in favor of keeping foreign crowds from descending on Tokyo for fear of new COVID-19 outbreaks, and given the new variants that have health officials worried. This despite the global vaccination campaign making great strides across the various populations in countries whose citizens would be likely to travel to the games, especially by the games' start on July 23.
Reuters cites recent surveys by a major Japanese publication:
Most Japanese people do not want international visitors to attend the Games amid fears that a large influx could spark a resurgence of infections, a Yomiuri newspaper poll showed.
The survey showed 77% of respondents were against allowing foreign fans to attend, versus 18% in favor.
Some 48% said they were against allowing any spectators into venues and 45% were in favor.
Kyodo news agency further confirmed that even the opening torch ceremony will be conducted without fans or spectators in the stadium.
"The organizing committee has decided it is essential to hold the ceremony in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima behind closed doors, only permitting participants and invitees to take part in the event, to avoid large crowds forming amid the pandemic,” the report said, quoting the officials.
Apparently only the final verdict of the Japanese government has been revealed, with the Tokyo 2020 games organizing committee expected to issue its final decision on the matter by the end of March - but it's something which according to the latest reports looks certain to be on the side of banning spectators.
Recently installed president of the Japanese committee Seiko Hashimoto told reporters last week, "We would really like people from around the world to come to a full stadium, but unless we are prepared to accept them and the medical situation in Japan is perfect, it will cause a great deal of trouble also to visitors from overseas."