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Tokyo Olympics hold test event without fans, top athletes

A Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games organizing committee staffer climbs a wall during a Speed Climbing test event at Aomi Urban Sports Park in Tokyo, on March 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games organizing committee staff climb a wall during a Speed Climbing test event at Aomi Urban Sports Park in Tokyo, on March 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

TOKYO (AP) -- Despite the spreading virus, Tokyo Olympic organizers have finally held a test event.

    The recent outbreak of the coronavirus has forced them to rearrange or postpone several. But they allowed a sport climbing event on Friday to go ahead, with a few restrictions: no fans and no top athletes. Instead they used amateurs to test the climbing facility.

    Almost all sports events and large gatherings have been shut down in Japan.

    Preseason baseball is being played without fans, the soccer J-League is suspended until March 18, and a spring sumo event will be contested in an empty arena. Schools are also closed across the country.

    The International Olympic Committee and local organizers say the Olympics will open as scheduled on July 24. The Paralympics are set for Aug. 25.

    Virologists, however, say it's impossible to tell if the spreading virus will allow that to happen, and a cancellation or a postponement are possible.

    Twelve deaths in Japan have been attributed to the virus.

    China is reporting more than 3,000 deaths from the virus, and still has more than 80% of the world cases, though outbreaks are surging in Italy, Iran, and South Korea.

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