Japan Mulls Zero-Spectator Olympics Amid Criticisms

Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics are considering holding the Olympics without any spectators despite strong public opinion against holding the games at all due to Japan’s recent wave of infections and how the government is handling the pandemic situation.

“We are prepared for no spectators. But we want as many people to watch as the situation allows,” said Seiko Hashimoto, president of the Japan Olympic Organizing Committee late last month.

The Japanese government has expanded and extended the third state of emergency as cases of coronavirus continue to increase throughout the country. More infectious variants of the disease have been driving the recent surge of infections, adding to concerns about inviting thousands of overseas athletes.

Asahi newspaper’s recent poll has found that 59% of respondents were against allowing any audience to the Olympics while 33% are in favor of just limiting the attendance.

Limiting the attendance of domestic audiences would deliver a significant financial burden on the potential revenue from sales. It would also decrease consumption and discourage spending by sponsors.

Katsuhiro Miyamoto, a Kansai University professor, estimates the potential financial loss at around 2.41 trillion yen ($22 billion).

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