TOKYO, July 20 (Reuters) – Foreign journalists covering the Tokyo Olympics were surprised to learn that what they thought was a chance to report outside of their media “bubble” turned out to be a social distancing tourist visit.
Hoping to get out and report on Tokyo beyond the Games, they were instead transported on Monday by rushed organizers from one empty tourist spot to another for two hours.
Foreign journalists, largely confined by COVID-19 rules to their hotels and Olympic venues, have already resented measures such as GPS tracking and banning interviewing ordinary people.
Some Japanese media in turn monitored visitors to see if they were breaking quarantine.
With the Olympics opening on Friday, organizers say the curbs are a fair way to fight the spread of the epidemic in Japan. Foreign media protested the restriction on press freedom, Kyodo news agency reported.
With repeated temperature checks, site visits limited to 30 minutes, and social distancing, reporters on Monday’s trip visited sites such as the Tokyo National Museum and Hama-Rikyu Gardens, a riverside villa. bay for feudal lords.
“We just went to the national museum without a photo shoot permission, so there is no point in the media,” Finnish journalist Heikki Valkama said.
Mikai Asai of the Japanese Tourist Board said the idea was to give locked-in journalists time to explore the capital safely.
“Due to the many restrictions, (journalists) are not allowed to go out to take pictures. But we would like to share Japanese culture and everyone to enjoy it as part of our hospitality,” she said. .
Reporting by Pak Yiu; Writing by William Mallard
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