Japan's Government Declares State of Emergency in Tokyo 2 Weeks Before Olympics

The Japanese government declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, July 7 — about two weeks before the start of the Olympics in Tokyo. BNO News reported the official state of emergency in Japan on Wednesday morning, fulfilling speculation on the subject. This means that the Olympics will still be shrouded in COVID-19 precautions and restrictions.

According to a report by The Chicago Sun-Times, coronavirus cases have been surging in Japan over the last few weeks. This comes just as the country prepares to host the Olympic games, which have already been delayed due to the pandemic once. Right now, experts speculate that the games will go on as planned, but perhaps with heavier restrictions on crowds and vendors than previously imagined. This could mean that the Olympics will not be as much of a boon to the Tokyo economy as the government hoped.

COVID-19 cases in the Japanese capital Tokyo have been on the rise for weeks, threatening to push the city and the country back into a state of emergency. The city reportedly tallied 920 new cases of the virus on Wednesday, which was up sharply from 714 new cases last Wednesday. Tokyo still has not matched its recent high of 1,010 new cases on May 13.

In order to keep it that way, some adjustments may be needed. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and other key ministers are reportedly discussing what safety measures will best protect everyone through the Olympics. The games are meant to run from July 23 to Aug. 8, and the new state of emergency may go on until Aug. 22.

So far, Suga's administration has not made any firm announcements, but the prime minister did vow "to do everything we can to prevent the further spread of the infections." Suga is not expected to make a final decision on the parameters of this state of emergency until Thursday. First, he will consult with a panel of experts on the virus.

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The state of emergency is unlikely to upset any plans for international travellers, since fans from overseas were banned from attending the Olympics months ago. The IOC has stated that venues can be filled up to 50 percent capacity, with crowds not exceeding 10,000 people. Those numbers may need to be adjusted now.

The Tokyo Olympics kick off later this month on Friday, July 23. Stay tuned for updates on how COVID-19 may impact the competition.