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Tokyo Under State of Emergency, Spectators Not Allowed at Olympics

The capital of Japan has seen a rise in COVID-19 infections in recent weeks.

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FILE - In this March 17, 2021, file photo, people walk past the Olympic rings in Tokyo. The Tokyo Olympics open in under four months, and the torch relay has begun to crisscross Japan with 10,000 runners. Organizers say they are mitigating the risks, but many medial expert aren't convinced.(AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
By: Alyssa Wilson

The 2021 Tokyo Olympics, which were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will not have spectators due to rising infection rates.  

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According to Kyodo News, Olympic minister Tamayo Marukawa made the announcement Thursday, just two weeks before the games are set to begin. A limited number of fans were initially going to be allowed, but the Japanese government declared a state of emergency until August 22. They feared the competition could trigger a larger surge of infections.  

The decision to ban spectators was agreed on by multiple bodies, including the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee, and the Japanese and Tokyo governments

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Thomas Bach, the chief of the International Olympic Committee, arrived in Tokyo Thursday and said he is committed to making sure the games are safe. “We have shown this responsibility since the day of the postponement. And we will also show it today, and we will support any measure which is necessary to have a safe and secure Olympic and Paralympic Games for the Japanese people and all the participants,” he said.  

On Wednesday, Tokyo reported 920 new infections, making it the highest daily count since May. Medical experts have warned of the dangers of going forward with the Olympics, as athletes from numerous countries around the world will travel and the highly contagious Delta variant continues to spread.  

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The Tokyo Olympics will take place from July 23 through August 8.  

This is a developing story that will be updated.