Japan Olympic Museum
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Japan to simplify Tokyo 2020 Olympics to limit the spread of coronavirus

The postponed Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games could see fewer spectators and a smaller opening ceremony

Kasey Furutani
Written by
Kasey Furutani

[Update, June 12] The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 organisers have officially decided to simplify the Olympics to reduce the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus while also reducing the cost of the pricey postponement. Japan Today reports that there are 200 items that can be simplified, including reducing the number of people who are involved in the Games but aren't spectators or athletes, such as IOC and sporting officials. After the Tokyo 2020 organisers have reviewed the 200 items, the final proposal will be presented by the IOC Coordination Commission at an IOC board meeting in September.


[June 5 2020] The global spread of Covid-19 coronavirus has caused the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games to 2021. The Olympics are supposed to bring the world together in celebration, but the virus has restricted us to our homes. The impact of the global pandemic is still being felt, although Japan recently lifted its state of emergency and Tokyo is just beginning to reopen

The Japan Times reports that, while Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has previously refused to hold a reduced version of the games, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said this week, ‘It is also extremely important to host a secure and safe games’. It seems like there’s no way to hold the Olympics without making adjustments to avoid the spread of coronavirus. 

The same report also mentions government sources saying on Thursday that certain measures could be put in place for the safety of everyone involved in the Games. This includes possible PCR testing for athletes, staff and spectators, limiting the number of spectators at events, reducing the scale of the opening and closing ceremonies, and keeping Olympic Village virus-free by restricting athletes’ outings.

However, nothing has been set in stone yet. The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the International Olympic Committee are still discussing ways to avoid the spread of the virus.

In a Kyodo News report, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike was quoted saying, ‘We hope to work together with the government and the Tokyo organizing committee to look into what can be rationalized and simplified. It will be necessary in order to gain empathy and understanding from the public.’

The Olympic Games were supposed to start on July 24 this summer. Many other large summer festivals and events in Japan, including the popular Fuji Rock Festival, have also been cancelled

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