TOKYO, Japan — Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics agreed Thursday to ban spectators from the Games after Japan declared a state of emergency to combat surging COVID-19 cases in the capital.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga formally declared on Thursday a state of emergency in Tokyo, putting restrictions aimed at curbing coronavirus infections in place through August 22.
The move comes just two weeks before the opening Games on July 23.
President Seiko Hashimoto, who is the president of the Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee, said it was “regrettable” that the sporting event would be held without crowds.
She offered her apologies to those who had already bought tickets to the Games.
Experts have called on the Games for weeks to prohibit fans, saying it was the least risky option to prevent a new wave of infections.