July 23, 2021, marks the opening ceremony of the delayed Tokyo Olympics. However, Japan has barred all spectators from the highly anticipated international sports festival, which it hosts this summer, owing to rising COVID-19 infections.
Tokyo Olympics: No flights, no fans
- Japan declared a state of emergency that’s also meant to curb a wave of new infections.
- With more than 11,000 competitors expected to travel to Japan to compete in the Games, alongside thousands of officials and staff, protecting their safety and ensuring the virus does not spread is paramount.
So, it comes as no surprise that on June 16, 2021, one week before the start of the Tokyo Olympics, the Japanese Transport Ministry decided to temporarily limit the number of flights arriving at five Japanese airports, including:
- Haneda Airport (HND)
- Narita International Airport (NRT)
- Chubu Centrair International Airport (NGO)
- Kansai International Airport (KIX)
- Fukuoka Airport (FUK).
In addition to winning gold medals, the Japanese government is extremely focused on stringent precautionary measures to avoid an outbreak of COVID-19.
Travelling to TOKYO
- The ban was issued in order to prevent the spread of the virus as well as to avoid airport quarantine checks from being overwhelmed on the period between July 16 and July 22, 2021
- This will also see an expected increase in international flights as athletes and delegation officials arrive from overseas.
- The government also asked foreign air carriers to reduce the number of passengers to 40 maximum per flight
- However along with the exemption for travelers who are classes as in transit and those directly involved in the Olympics.
This new rule is expected to be valid until the end of August 2021.
Meanwhile, for local airlines, the Transport Ministry has ordered that a maximum of 3,400 passengers travel per week.
Due to growing infection rates, Japan is currently operating under a state of emergency. Only 30 officials from the United States, including the First Lady of the United States, Jill Biden, were allowed to enter the Opening Ceremony. In comparison to the last Olympic Games, which took place in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, approximately 40 officials were permitted to attend.
Similarly, as many as 80 US political figures attended the sports festival in London in 2012.
The current situation
- At present, all foreign nationalities are banned from entering Japan as tourists and business purposes.
- This injunction will remain in place until the state of emergency is lifted.
- These entry restrictions were also extended to the delegations that were supposed to attend the opening parade.
- According to the local media outlet, the Japan Times, delegations were halved.
- For instance, Spain, which has a total of 321 qualified athletes, was cleared to attend the parade with a delegation of 150 athletes, including seven coaches.
- The Heads of the State and other officials have also faced cutbacks.
Japanese aviation will also record low numbers
Also according to the ANA Group Traffic Results, published in early July 2021, the only data currently available (as of May 2021) comes from its competitor, Japan Airlines, which flew 796,369 domestic and 41,897 international passengers.
Moreover pre-COVID-19, the airline flew around 3,43 million passengers on its domestic network and 833,884 visitors from foreign countries.
So, extra passengers visiting the Olympics sure would have helped.
Information Credits to Aerotime
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