Tokyo organisers will focus on essentials. Photograph: Viola Kam/Sopa Images/Shutterstock
The new president of the Tokyo Olympic organising committee has hinted that foreign fans will not be allowed at this summer’s Games amid reports in the Japanese press that a decision had already been made to exclude them.
“If the situation is tough and it would make the [Japanese] consumers concerned, that is a situation we need to avoid from happening,” the committee president, Seiko Hashimoto, told reporters after online talks with the International Olympic Committee president, Thomas Bach.
The Japanese newspaper Mainichi stated on Wednesday before the meeting with Bach that officials had already made up their minds ahead of a final announcement on the foreign fans situation expected by the end of the month. The press report cited only unnamed sources “involved in the discussions”.
Citing an anonymous government official, Mainichi reported: “In the current situation it is impossible to bring in foreign spectators.”
Hashimoto was questioned after the meeting as to how Japan could even consider letting in thousands of overseas fans, given how unpopular the idea is at home, where up to 80% want the Olympics cancelled or postponed again. She confirmed the subject of fans was a key part of the talks with Bach, the International Paralympic committee president, Andrew Parsons, the Tokyo governor, Yuriko Koike, and the Olympic minister, Tamayo Marukawa.