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Allowing fans at Olympic venues as sought by IOC's Bach not happening: gov't panel chair

The government's coronavirus subcommittee chairperson Shigeru Omi is seen at a news conference in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on July 16, 2021. (Mainichi/Toshiki Miyama)

TOKYO -- The head of the Japanese government's coronavirus task force subcommittee said allowing spectators at Tokyo Games venues, as requested by International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, "won't happen if things are decided normally."

    Bach reportedly asked Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in a July 14 meeting to allow fans into Olympic venues if the state of COVID-19 infections improved.

    Commenting on the request, Shigeru Omi, chair of the coronavirus subcommittee, told a July 16 news conference, "I think allowing people in to watch the games live at the venues two weeks from now won't happen if things are decided normally." He added, "I, too, hope that the flow of people will decrease, but in reality, it won't be like that," and expressed the opinion that rather than discussing whether spectators should be allowed into the venues, authorities should focus on how to curb the current spread of infections.

    A group of medical and infectious disease experts including Omi recommended to the Japanese government as well as the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in June that the games be held without spectators at the venues.

    (Japanese original by Hiroyuki Harada, Lifestyle and Medical News Department)

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