Tokyo cancels Olympic live-viewing events and will turn some venues into vaccination sites

A woman walks by the Olympic Rings near the National Stadium in Tokyo, June 9, 2021. AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko
  • Tokyo has canceled live-viewing events for the Olympics, the Japan Times reported.
  • Some of the venues will instead be used as COVID-19 vaccination sites, Tokyo’s governor announced.
  • The debate over whether to allow spectators to watch the games in person is ongoing.
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Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike announced Saturday that live in-person viewing events in the city scheduled for next month’s Olympic games were canceled, the Japan Times reported.

Koike said he made the decision was made after he met with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, according to the report. Some of the six venues, which included Yoyogi, Inokashira, and Hibiya parks in Tokyo, will instead be used as COVID-19 vaccination sites, Koike said.

The Japanese government on Thursday announced it would ease some of its COVID-19 restrictions ahead of the Tokyo 2020 games, which were supposed to occur last year but were rescheduled due to the pandemic.

There have been numerous calls for the games to be canceled due to the continued threat of the pandemic, including from the Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association, which represents about 6,000 Japanese doctors.

Japan reported more than 10,000 new cases of COVID-19 over the past week, according to data analyzed by Johns Hopkins University. There were 388 new cases of the disease reported in Tokyo on Friday, according to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

Cases in Japan have fallen since their reached their record high in April this year, according to the Hopkins data.

According to the Japan Times, Olympics and Paralympics organizers are scheduled to meet Monday to determine the number of spectators allowed at the games.

Dr. Shigeru Omi, the top medical adviser to the Japanese government, said Friday in a report that the safest way to hold the games next month would be with no spectators at all, The Associated Press reported.

“We believe it would be most desirable not to have fans inside venues,” Omi said at a press conference Friday, according to the AP. “Regardless of holding the Olympics or not, Japan has continuing risks of a resurgence of the infections that puts pressure on the medical systems.”

The games are scheduled to begin on July 23 and end on August 8.