Games chief hints decision on spectators delayed

The chief of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic organizing committee has indicated that deciding on capping spectator numbers at the games may be delayed now that the coronavirus state of emergency has been extended.

Hashimoto Seiko spoke to reporters on Friday before the government officially decided to keep the measure in place for Tokyo and eight other prefectures until June 20.

Hashimoto said deciding on spectator numbers will be difficult before seeing how the situation develops during the extended state of emergency.

She also said the committee wanted to decide soon, but must act in line with government-set criteria.

The committee had suggested it might decide on the cap in early June.

Referring to concerns that public viewing and other event sites for the games could raise infection risks, Hashimoto said situations would change depending on how many spectators were allowed into the venues.

She added that the committee will coordinate with local authorities, possibly by reviewing plans for opening such sites.

Hashimoto announced that six South Asian countries including India and Pakistan have promised the International Olympic Committee that their delegations will be fully vaccinated before arriving in Japan.

She hailed the pledge as a step forward to ensuring the safety of Japanese people and games participants.

Japan imposes stricter entry restrictions on people from the nations, where coronavirus variants are rampant.