Tokyo 2020 organizers emphasize safety over fun at Olympics

Tokyo, Jun 23 (EFE).- With just 30 days to go before the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, the president of the organizing committee said Wednesday that safety will take precedent over fun at the event.

Seiko Hashimoto told reporters that festivities must be curbed as it was important to avoid large movements of people during the event.

Hashimoto also urged people to refrain from cheering or shouting and try to avoid crowds while stressing Japan’s efforts to hold a safe Olympics in the midst of a global pandemic.

When asked about the contrast with the festive atmosphere of the European public in recent Euro 2020 football matches, including the one between Hungary and Portugal in Budapest with nearly 70,000 spectators in the stands, the Japanese minister said the organizers were trying to come up with a new way of celebrating.

However, she hoped that video and media coverage of the event would allow the public to enjoy the Games.

The Japanese organizers announced on Monday that up to 10,000 spectators would be allowed in the stands, a measure based on the guidelines of the central government but opposed by medical experts.

Hashimoto said that taking into account the opinion of experts and the public’s concerns, in order to minimize the risk, the movement of spectators was to be restricted and the sale and consumption of alcohol prohibited at the venues.

The decision to ban alcohol for large groups of people is in line with the recent states of emergency declared by the Japanese government, which has sought to limit alcohol consumption in bars and restaurants.

The Tokyo government recently canceled all public viewing sites for the Olympics, following its decision earlier in the month to scrap plans for a public viewing site in Yoyogi Park in central Tokyo.

Technology will serve as an ally of the organizers of the Games held amid unprecedented restrictions, helping to make up for the absence of overseas spectators and the cap on local fans.

On Wednesday, the organizing committee announced the launch of a mobile application to provide spectators with the latest information on the Games’ schedules, results, medals and other relevant news, as well as to follow the Olympic torch’s journey through the Japanese archipelago.

The official Olympic app, now available for download, aims to offer a digital experience to fans both outside and inside Japan in seven languages.

Messages of encouragement from viewers around the world and received via social media will also be screened at the venues of the competitions and “reconnect” people around the world after the “separation” caused by the pandemic, Hashimoto said. EFE


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