Overseas hockey supporters face being barred from attending the Tokyo Olympics.
Japan’s Mainichi newspaper reported this week that the government was planning to stop overseas visitors due to over pandemic fears.
A government official told the paper: “Under current circumstances, we cannot accept spectators from overseas.”
A decision will be made by next month, Japan’s Olympics minister, Tamayo Marukawa, said on Wednesday.
Tokyo public mood
A Yomiuri newspaper poll released this week revealed that 91 per cent of Japanese want spectators kept to a minimum or not allowed at all if the Games are to go ahead.
The poll also showed that 58 per cent of people do not want the Olympics and Paralympics to be held this year because of Covid fears.
An opinion poll in January revealed that around 80 per cent of the public believe that Tokyo 2020 should be cancelled or rescheduled.
What differences will there be at Tokyo Olympics?
Tokyo Olympic organisers released a raft of rules for athletes and officials ahead of the rescheduled Games to quell coronavirus.
The IOC’s pandemic ‘playbook’ rules include a ban on public transport use and wearing masks at all times “except eating or sleeping”.
Olympians will be tested 72 hours before arrival in Japan (and then at least every four days, although there will be no quarantine).
During the Games, face masks must be worn by everyone at all times outside of competition, unless competitors are outside and more than two metres social distancing. A smartphone app will also be used to trace competitors.
The quiet Olympics?
If overseas fans are barred, venues may well see atmosphere lacking if no Japanese are competing.
According to the playbook, singing or chanting at venues is to be discouraged in supporting the athletes, while Olympians will be asked to clap in celebration instead of hugging and high fives.
It remains to be seen how the Olympic broadcasters will adapt to this. It is already clear that the Games will be made-for-TV.
It is reported that around 1500 are still hoping to travel from the UK to attend the Games ahead of the decision.
Due to the ticketing process, Tokyo organisers have already said that it will decide on an overall spectator limit and restrictions on entering Japan from overseas by this spring.
A spokesman for the British Olympic Association told the Daily Mirror that the supporters’ ticket provider “remains in contact with all ticket and travel package purchasers and would wait for official confirmation to see if advice changes.”