Japan Announces COVID-19 State of Emergency Ahead of Tokyo Summer Olympics

With cases on a steady incline, Japan declared a new COVID-19 state of emergency that will continue through the Summer Olympics, making it likely the organizers will do away with plans to allow spectators.

Japan is just one of many countries in Asia that has been slow with vaccine distribution, while also experiencing a new wave of infection. Indeed, on Thursday, Tokyo reported 896 new cases, up 27 percent from a week prior, per the Wall Street Journal.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared the state of emergency starting Monday through August 22, the country’s fourth emergency declaration since the pandemic began.

This is likely to force Olympics organizers to do away with plans for limited attendance at the Games held in Tokyo. Representatives of the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese government are set to discuss the issue on Thursday.

Last month, organizers said attendance would be capped at half capacity, or a maximum 10,000 people. Foreign spectators were ruled out in March.

The Games begin on July 23 and end on August 8.