Troubled Tokyo Olympics near finish line with one month to go

The Tokyo Olympics have weathered a historic postponement, an unprecedented ban on overseas fans and persistent domestic opposition, but with one month to go, the finish line is finally in sight. The journey to this year’s Games has involved a long list of complications that sometimes threatened to make them the first modern Olympics cancelled in peacetime.

Now, just four weeks remain until the opening ceremony on July 23, and while the mood is far from jubilant, organisers might just have cause to celebrate. The first Olympic teams are already in Japan, along with key officials and some overseas media and polls suggest long-standing public opposition to the Games may be weakening as D-day approaches. Meanwhile, in a report, Japanese medical experts have warned there was “a risk the movement of people” would spread Covid infections and “strain the [country’s] medical system”. But other Japanese officials have indicated they want domestic fans to attend if possible. Foreign spectators have already been banned. The Olympics, originally meant to happen last year, will open on 23 July. The report by the Japanese medical experts, led by top health adviser Shigeru Omi, was issued on Friday. It said that holding the Games without spectators was the “least risky” option and the desirable one. However, the experts also floated an option that Olympic venues could each hold up to 10,000 spectators.