John Coates, the IOC vice president in charge of the Tokyo Olympics, said the Games would open even if the city and other parts of Japan were under a state of emergency because of COVID-19. Coates said the Games would go on even if Japan’s local medical experts advised against holding the Olympics.
Other IOC officials have previously set an end-of-June deadline for a decision on continuing with the Games, which are set to start on July 23. If the Games do not take place, they will be canceled instead of postponed, as they were in 2020.
Tokyo, Osaka and several other prefectures are currently under a state of emergency caused by an increase in pandemic cases. Emergency measures are scheduled to end on May 31, but they are likely to be extended.
The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will not have attendance from international travelers. Tokyo organizers made the decision along with the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee and the national and local governments in Japan.
Officials said today they would meet in April to discuss how many spectators already in Japan would be allowed into Olympic venues.
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The foreign travelers bar means the organizers will have to provide refunds of an estimated 600,000 tickets to the Olympics and 30,000 tickets to the Paralympic games, which start in August.
Tokyo organizers previously said that 7.8 million tickets would be made available. Reports indicate anywhere from 10 percent to 20 percent of Olympics tickets are purchased by international spectators. Beyond that, the influx of tourists boosts hotel room occupancy, restaurants, transportation and other services in the country.