Olympics Chief: Let the Games Go on

'Biggest challenge will be how we can control and manage the flow of people'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 3, 2021 6:11 AM CDT
Tokyo 2020 Chief: Olympics Are Really Happening
President of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Seiko Hashimoto delivers opening remarks during a Tokyo 2020 executive board meeting in Tokyo on May 26.   (Nicolas Datiche/Pool Photo via AP)

Are the Tokyo Olympics happening? Amid Japan's fourth wave of coronavirus cases and growing public resistance, a major newspaper has said the Games should be called off. Per Kyodo News, the country's top coronavirus adviser Shigeru Omi said Wednesday that the Games, if held, should be scaled down "as much as possible." CNN reports 1 in 8 registered volunteers have now quit. But officials say this will not impact operations, and Games President Seiko Hashimoto says to expect the official start in 50 days as planned. "I believe that the possibility of these Games going on is 100%," the seven-time Olympian tells the BBC. She acknowledges opposing voices among frustrated Japanese people—some polls show almost 70% of people want the Games canceled—adding the focus now is on ensuring a safe and secure Olympics.

"The biggest challenge will be how we can control and manage the flow of people," she says. "We are trying to create as complete a bubble situation as possible … for people who come in from overseas as well as people who are in Japan." But "if an outbreak should happen … we must be prepared to have these Games without any spectators." International supporters aren't permitted at the Olympics, beginning July 23, or the Paralympics, beginning Aug. 24. Officials have yet to say whether domestic spectators will be allowed. They're debating whether to ban loud cheering and high-fives and whether to require spectators to show a negative COVID-19 test result, per Global News. The first international athletes are already arriving in Japan while many parts of the country are under coronavirus-related restrictions until at least June 20. (Read more Tokyo Olympics stories.)

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