2021 Tokyo Olympics Spectatorship: Who Gets to Watch the Games?


     Technically speaking, anyone can watch the Olympics; the event is broadcast around the world on a thousand different television stations, as well as being available to stream online in a multitude of places. However, due to the increasing uncertainty of the situation in Tokyo in regards to the vaccinations, the state of emergency, and other matters of the pandemic, it can be difficult to guess who exactly will be allowed at the stadium to spectate in person. 

Photo from NHK

In general, there are three categories of people in regards to this question, and the answer differs for all three: there are those who live in Tokyo, those who reside in Japan outside of Tokyo, and those who live outside of Japan.

Photo from NHK

Those who live in Tokyo

     If you’re currently living in Tokyo, congratulations! You are 100% theoretically able to attend the Olympics in-person when they start in the coming months. However, I say “theoretically” for a reason: due to how soon the Olympics begin, tickets for the most popular events will be in short supply. 

This is doubly so because of the reduced attendance numbers allowed in the stadium. Many of the venues for the Olympics will be operating at roughly half capacity, meaning that where once there were 60,000 seats available, there now are only 30,000. Naturally, this means that tickets will be twice as hard to get as they would usually be at this time in relation to a regular game, excepting, perhaps, the sports that absolutely no one cares about.

Photo from Olympics.com

Those who live in Japan, but not in Tokyo

     If you’re living in Japan but outside of Tokyo, you’re also in luck! The decision was made quite recently to allow domestic spectators from outside of the capitol city to attend the Olympic Games; however, all of the caveats from the previous section also apply to your potential spectatorship. 

Additionally, if you live outside of the city, other concerns may apply to you; for those who live in cities like Osaka and Kyoto, the currently strict lockdown measures mean that you may remain unable to leave the Kansai region for some time. If you reside in a more rural area of Japan, especially those largely unaffected by the pandemic thus far, you risk exposing yourself and the rest of your community by going to the crowded city. If you’re dead-set on traveling to see the games, exercise caution, and try to minimize your possible exposures outside of the arena as much as possible.

Photo from Yahoo!ニュース

Those who do not live in Japan

     Unfortunately, this will be the shortest section. Those who live outside of Japan will be unable to attend the Olympics in-person, full stop. If you had already set money aside for tickets, you might still be able to use that money to buy a nice viewing TV and some Japan-themed snacks. If you’re feeling extra spicy, a picture of Tokyo Tower somewhere in your viewing room might also help you replicate the ambiance.

     With the Olympic Games refusing to delay any longer, it’s important to know where you stand. For those who are still willing to support the event, the games begin on July 23rd, and continue until August 8th.

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