Japan Sets Its Rules on Olympic Fans

Venues will be capped at 10K, at least officially
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2021 9:00 AM CDT
Japan Decides: Yes, We're Having Fans at Olympics
A convoy of buses travels to National Stadium from the athletes' village on Sunday in Tokyo.   (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

Olympic athletes in Tokyo won't be competing in empty venues. Japan made the controversial decision Monday to allow fans to attend next month's games, reports USA Today. The move comes with stipulations: Venues are supposed to be only half-full at most, and capacity for any venue will be capped at 10,000. But that last part gets a little squishy: The AP notes that sponsors and sporting federation officials won't be counted toward that total, meaning more than 10,000 might be in any given crowd. Fans will have to wear masks, they'll be prohibited from shouting, and their exits from venues will come in staggered intervals.

"We acknowledge there is uncertainty on the situation around the pandemic," says Tokyo 2020 exec Seiko Hashimoto, adding that authorities might yet prohibit fans if the COVID situation worsens, per USA Today. "We need to be very flexible." Most Japanese residents haven't been vaccinated, and the nation's chief medical adviser said last week that his preference would be to hold the Tokyo Games without fans. Any who attend will be local—as stipulated a while ago, no fans from abroad will be allowed. Meanwhile, NPR notes that the first report of an athlete testing positive has emerged—an unnamed Ugandan athlete was flagged at a Japanese airport and denied entry to the country. (This year's competition will include the first trans athlete.)

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