Two more prefectures outside the immediate Tokyo area have decided to bar fans from attending Olympic events because of rising coronavirus infections, Tokyo Olympic organisers confirmed with the pandemic-delayed games opening in just under two weeks.
Tokyo organisers and the IOC earlier in the week barred all fans from venues in Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures.
Now, two prefectures that were permitted to have fans have backed out of those plans.
Fukushima prefecture in northeastern Japan has decided to hold its baseball and softball events without spectators.
“Many people including children have been looking forward to the games, and I’m very sorry to take away their chance of watching baseball and softball at the stadium,” Fukushima Governor Masao Uchibori said Saturday. “It was a very tough decision to make.”
Fukushima was the early focus of the Olympics, trying to shine a light on recovery efforts in an area devastated in 2011 by an earthquake, tsunami, and the subsequent meltdown of three nuclear reactors.
It has been joined by the northern prefecture of Hokkaido, which will hold football games without fans at the Sapporo Dome.
The Tokyo Olympics will open on July 23.