Japan to declare a state of emergency ahead of Tokyo Olympics


Tokyo: Japan is set to put Tokyo in a state of emergency until the Olympics ends due to fear of an ongoing COVID-19 surge in the city.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga meeting with key ministers to discuss virus measures and reportedly considering reinstating a state of emergency in the TOKYO  until Aug. 22. The Olympics will end on Aug. 8.

In a meeting with experts Thursday morning, government officials proposed a plan to issue a state of emergency in Tokyo from Monday to Aug. 22. The Summer Olympics, already delayed almost one year due to the pandemic and will begin from July 23.

Fans are banned from many country

Fans from other countries were earlier banned from attending the Olympics months ago. But organizers and IOC changed their decision two weeks ago and decided to allowed stadiums to be filed up to 50% of capacity but should not exceed 10,000. Opening ceremony at National Stadium without the fans will cost around $1.4 billion.

Dr Shigeru Omi, a government medical adviser of Japan government, told reporters, “The infections are in their expansion phase, and everyone in the country must firmly understand the seriousness of it.” He also urged authorities to take harsh measures ahead of the Olympics quickly. He added, “The period from July to September is the most critical time for Japan’s COVID-19 measures.” 

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike also expects that the government should declare a state of emergency in Tokyo. This is the fourth time the emergency is imposed for the capital since the pandemic began last year.

Ryuji Wakita, director-general of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, said, “Two-thirds of the infections in the capital are from Tokyo, and our concern is the spread of the infections to neighbouring areas.”

What if, Olympics were cancelled.

The Olympics, which is already postponed by 15 months, will badly impact IOC’s income flow. IOC gets almost 75% of its income from selling broadcast rights, and experts estimate that it would lose between $3 billion and $4 billion if the Olympics were cancelled.

On the other hand, when just two weeks are left for the Olympics, coronavirus cases are rising in the capital, especially the spread of the infectious Delta variant is more.

If cases arise more, Tokyo plans to let up to 10,000 local fans into Olympic venues, making Tokyo 2020 the first Olympic held behind closed doors.

Tokyo Olympics 2021

“The government could lift the emergency earlier if the effect of vaccines becomes clear and an improvement is seen in the situation of hospital beds”, said PM Suga.

Japan’s minister in charge of the virus, Yasutoshi Nishimura, warned about new COVID-19 cases in the capital.” As the movement of people increases, the more infectious Delta variant now accounts for around 30 per cent of cases. This is expected to expand further,” he added.

Spectators at events will be limited to 5,000 people or 50 per cent venue capacity, whichever is less.

Olympic participants may not have to quarantine the full 14-days. Still, they will have more restrictions during their time in Japan, like limited athletes to venues and the Olympic Village, and daily tests will be conducted.

Athletes must self-isolate themselves for three days in Tokyo’s IOC’s five-star hotel before heading to Hiroshima.

Restrictions will continue

Olympic will also be held without foreign spectators. Also, due to a state of emergency Japan government may not allow a local audience. A decision about fans is yet to come after the local organizers meeting with the International Olympic Committee and representatives.

Restrictions will continue

A significant focus is on the bars, restaurants and karaoke parlours serving alcohol—ban on serving alcohol to reduce crowd in Olympic-related festivities and stop people from drinking and partying. Tokyo residents are expected to stay at home and watch the Games on TV from home.

“How to stop people enjoying the Olympics without going out for drinks is the main issue,” Health Minister Norihisa Tamura said.

Tokyo reported 920 new cases on Wednesday, up from 714 last week and its highest since 1,010 on May 13. According to some experts’ estimation, daily coronavirus cases in Tokyo could hit 1,000 before the Games and spike into thousands in August.

Just 15% of Japanese are fully vaccinated, which is very low compared to 47.4% in the United States and 50% in Britain. Japan has had about 8 lakhs 20 thousand infections and nearly 14,900 deaths.

Anirudha Yerunkar
Anirudha Yerunkar
Postgraduate in Multimedia from IIJNM, Bangalore. Covered stories on health, business, migrant workers and the impact of Covid19 on various sections of society. Interested in reading and writing. I like to follow and research politics and current news. Interested to find what will happen with the human race and where will it go after the Pandemic. Keen to learn and understand anthropology. Also, like to listen to all genre of music but especially like classical and folk music. Writing articles and poetry is my passion. Following national and international literature and various scientific groups is my hobby. Travelled across India and ready to explore more.



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