Tense Japan wants to limit visitors’ movements at upcoming Games

REUTERS/Issei Kato
Giant Olympic Rings are installed at the waterfront area at Odaiba Marine Park in Tokyo, Japan, ahead of an official inauguration ceremony, six months before the opening of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games, January 17, 2020.

Amid growing public opposition to holding the Tokyo Games over concerns of the possible influx of coronavirus variants spreading as tens of thousands of people soon converge on Japan from around the world, the government will implement measures to control the movements of athletes, event officials and others while in the country.

“Behavior management is a very important issue,” Olympic minister Tamayo Marukawa said at a press conference Friday. “We will place emphasis on checking the sites,” she said, highlighting the need for thorough visual confirmations.

The government is particularly concerned about the 78,000 nonathletes expected to enter the country. Unlike participants, who will be effectively quarantined in the athletes village, visitors will be dispersed in hotels and other locations and may visit places other than competition venues and training grounds, making it difficult to predict their behavior.

The organizing committee has requested that nonathletes stay in hotels and other places for 14 days after entering Japan, and their locations will be monitored by a smartphone app. Organizers also plan to commission people from the private sector to monitor hotels and other locations and conduct visual checks.