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The organizers of the Tokyo Olympic Games decided Thursday to hold the competition without spectators due to the increase in cases of coronavirus in the capital, the Minister for the event, Tamayo Marukawa, revealed today.
Representatives of the organizing committee, chaired by Seiko Hashimoto, the International Olympic Committee, headed by Thomas Bach, and the Paralympic Committee, headed by Andrew Parsons, and Tokyo authorities (governor Yuriko Koike) as well as the Japanese central government agreed at a meeting to hold the Games without spectators in the stadiums.
"It is extremely sad that the Games will be held in a very limited way in the face of the spread of coronavirus infections. I am very sorry for the ticket holders and local residents who were looking forward to the Games," Hashimoto told reporters.
Bach endorsed the decision in the face of the rising number of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus cases in the Tokyo metropolitan area.
"We have demonstrated this responsibility since the day of the postponement. We will support any measure that is necessary to have a safe Olympic and Paralympic Games for the Japanese people and all participants," the German leader stressed.
On Thursday, Tokyo confirmed 896 new positives to surpass the number recorded a week earlier for the 19th consecutive day.
In view of this situation, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga today declared a state of emergency in the Tokyo metropolitan area from Monday, July 12 until August 22.
The organizers of the Olympics, scheduled to open on July 23, never ruled out holding competitions without spectators, given the impact of the epidemiological situation, even when they announced that they planned to allow the entry of up to 10,000 spectators or half the capacity of the facilities.
In the last few days, in view of the growing confirmation of new cases of COVID-19, the authorities advanced the possibility of reducing the number to five thousand or even to zero, or holding without fans the competitions starting after 21:00 local time, including the opening and closing ceremonies.