Stern Challenges Remain on Road to Tokyo Olympics This Summer

Sports

Tokyo, April 14 (Jiji Press)--Japan on Wednesday marked 100 days to go until the July 23 opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics but many stern challenges remain to be overcome before the country can host the major sporting event amid the coronavirus pandemic.

While there were expectations that the ongoing Tokyo Olympic torch relay would build momentum for the games, the worsening COVID-19 infection situation in the country is casting a gloomy shadow over the festive atmosphere.

The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics organizing committee, which decided in March not to allow spectators from abroad for the games, plans to compile within April a basic policy on the upper limit on the number of domestic spectators.

Although the basic scenario is that the committee will conform to the rules on spectator caps placed on professional baseball games and other sporting events held in Japan, observers say the committee's discussions on the matter may be affected by the Japanese government's designation earlier this month of some prefectures in the country as areas where coronavirus pre-emergency measures can be taken with the aim of halting the viral spread.

The Tokyo Yakult Swallows, a professional baseball team that uses the Jingu Baseball Stadium in central Tokyo as its home ground, and the Tokyo Big6 intercollegiate baseball league decided to put a cap on game spectators at 5,000 people. While an idea of setting the limit at 50 pct of stadium capacity has been floated at the Tokyo Games organizing committee, it has become increasingly difficult to win the understanding of the public about letting in large numbers of spectators.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press