Senior Japanese politician calls for decision in early June on Tokyo 2020 spectators

Hakubun Shimomura, a politician from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, suggested that a decision should be made regarding spectator participation in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics delayed in early June.

Shimomura, chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party’s Policy Research Council, made the comment to a Japanese broadcaster NHK.

He said the decision should be clarified before International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach visits Japan early next month.

The IOC President’s proposed visit to the host country this month has been canceled due to the extension of state of emergency restrictions until May 31.

“We need to clarify by then how far we can accept the spectators,” Shimomura said. NHK.

Shimomura was heavily involved in the early stages of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, having served as Japanese Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology between 2012 and 2015.

His role was to oversee preparations for the Games on behalf of the Japanese government.

Shimomura stepped down from his role after the decision to drop the original plans for the Tokyo National Stadium.

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto previously admitted that the Olympics and Paralympics could be held behind closed doors.

Seats could remain empty at Tokyo 2020 if spectators are prevented from attending the Games © Getty Images
Seats could remain empty at Tokyo 2020 if spectators are prevented from attending the Games © Getty Images

A spectator decision is currently expected to be made a month before the Games, which are scheduled to open on July 23.

Organizers were initially expected to make a decision by the end of April, but they pushed the date back to June.

Overseas fans have already been banned amid challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several regions of Japan are currently under state of emergency restrictions as the host country seeks to curb the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases.

As part of emergency measures, catering establishments are asked to close at 8 p.m., while shops and cinemas are temporarily closed.

Venues hosting sporting events or concerts will see their capacity capped at 5,000 or 50%.

The restrictions are expected to end on May 31.

Japan recorded 5,265 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, marking the second consecutive day of declining cases.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government reported 419 new cases today.

It was the first time since April that the number of new daily cases in the capital had fallen below 500.

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