Tokyo Olympics: Hokkaido and Fukushima also say no to spectators
Kanako Mita and Sawako Utsumi
Modern Tokyo Times
The Tokyo Olympics unraveled negatively, even more, this week. This concerns the announcement that spectators in Japan are not allowed to attend venues in Tokyo and the neighboring prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa, and Saitama. However, a window of stadium spectators at venues was left open for a few other prefectures holding a limited number of events.
Yet even Fukushima and Hokkaido have said no based on similar factors. Hence, approximately 97 percent of all known sporting venues are banned for Japanese and international spectators alike.
Naomichi Suzuki, the Governor of Hokkaido, was dismayed by the organizing committee announcing that spectators could watch football events in Sapporo. Suzuki had announced to the committee, on several occasions, that only a unified approach to all Olympic venues was fair. Therefore, on hearing Tokyo and the neighboring prefectures were banning spectators, the organizing committee once more ignored the voice of Hokkaido.
On July 9, Suzuki said, “I held discussions with (Tokyo Olympic) organizing committee officials until just a short time ago and the decision was made to not allow any fans into Sapporo Dome.”
Suzuki had requested that all fans from Tokyo – and the surrounding region – must be forbidden from traveling to Sapporo to view football matches. This concerns the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis and issues related to past problems that led to spikes in new coronavirus cases. However, despite Suzuki being open to this compromise, the organizing committee couldn’t promise this. Therefore, the Governor of Hokkaido was forced to close the door on stadium spectators.
On July 10, Fukushima took a similar stance to Hokkaido. Thus fans will no longer be allowed to view baseball and softball games in this prefecture.
NHK reports, “Fukushima asked the committee to ban spectators due to concerns about a spread of the coronavirus infections and in light of the reversal of the decision on Hokkaido.”
Lee Jay Walker says, “All that is left of the Olympics and Paralympics is the IOC chasing money and the host nation taking all the coronavirus and economic risks. Hence, privileged athletes, sponsors of the games, and the IOC care little for public opinion in Japan – nor the safety of people in Japan.”
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