TOKYO (AFP) – Olympic fans in Japan reacted with weary resignation to a ban on Tokyo Games spectators on Friday, as newspaper editorials warned it may not be enough to stop the virus.
Kyoko Ishikawa, who has attended every Summer Games over the past 30 years, told AFP she “already expected” the decision to ban fans from most Olympic events, which was announced late Thursday.
But she said she still hopes to have “an opportunity to connect people” through online events.
“We already expected it, so it’s not really surprising and it’s not getting me down,” said Ishikawa, who has become a familiar face at Olympic venues over the years in her traditional Japanese outfit and ‘hachimaki’ headband.
“Now, what I have to do is ask how I can still create an opportunity to connect people around the world through the Olympic Games.”
Ishikawa said she still hopes to attend the Paralympics — set to begin on August 24. OrganiZers will decide attendance limits for that after the Olympics ends.
“You can’t change the situation. What you can do is just leverage what you have to be the best, to maximise the things that you can do,” she said.
With infections rising in the capital, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced Thursday that Tokyo would be under a virus state of emergency from July 12 until August 22.
The measure is significantly looser than lockdowns seen elsewhere, largely limiting alcohol sales, shortening opening hours for restaurants and capping event attendance at 5,000 people.