Empty Olympic Stands?

After being postponed for a year, the Olympic Games are scheduled to begin on their revised schedule on July 23 in and around Tokyo, Japan. But it looks like the games will be held without the usual crowds of spectators. The Japanese government has banned international travelers from entering Japan to attend the games. After months of mulling a similar ban on domestic viewers, the president of the Games recently announced that domestic spectators will be allowed to attend, so long as the situation does not worsen, or the Japanese government declares new emergency measures as cases increase.

Nobody seems to be disagreeing with the ban on international spectators. The U.S. State Department has recommended that Americans not travel to Japan at all for the foreseeable future, due to the possibility of catching one of the COVID variants during their stay. Australia, whose citizens are frequent travelers to major sporting events, has imposed a similar ban. Up to 83 percent of people in Japan disapprove of plans to go through with the event at all; 10,000 volunteers have quit over concerns of infection.

Just 7 percent of the Japanese population is currently vaccinated, and there have been recent outbreaks in Tokyo—the fourth wave in a country that has largely avoided the large-scale infections suffered by other nations. In all, there have been 797,079 infections and 14,659 deaths from the virus in Japan, numbers which could see a dramatic increase if the country ultimately decides to permit the Olympics to open up crowded sports arenas.

 

Sources:

https://www.arcgis.com/apps/dashboards/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6
https://apnews.com/article/japan-coronavirus-vaccine-coronavirus-pandemic-olympic-games-business-e96163aadba182bf39c26a4c12fa68b4 
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/21/world/tokyo-olympics-spectators.html 
https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/japan-chief-cabinet-secretary-no-change-us-support-olympics-2021-05-25/