Japan to track foreign reporters at Tokyo Olympics using GPS
07/20/2021 // Ramon Tomey // Views

Japan announced that foreign journalists who will cover the Tokyo Olympics will be tracked using GPS.

Tokyo Olympic Games 2020 Organizing Committee President Seiko Hashimoto announced the new rule on June 8, adding that erring reporters could have their passes revoked. The new measure is just one of many the Land of the Rising Sun is implementing to avoid Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases during the Olympics.

The new rule is aimed at about 6,000 reporters set to visit the country for the Olympics. It mandates reporters to provide a detailed list of areas they will visit for their first 14 days there – such as sports venues and hotels. Hashimoto remarked that Japan would use tracking technology to make sure reporters will only visit the places they are supposed to go to. "To make sure that people don't go to places where they are not registered to go, we will use GPS to strictly manage their behavior," Hashimoto said in an executive board meeting.

She continued that the number of designated hotels for visiting journalists will be slashed to about 150 from the originally planned 350 hotels. Reporters will also be exhorted to stay in designated hotels instead of private lodging, according to a Japan Times article. Hashimoto said: "Accommodations will be restricted to those that can be monitored by the organizing committee. We will ask [visiting journalists] not to stay at [private lodging] or [their] friends' houses."

The head of the Olympics organizing committee also mentioned that it secured about 90 percent of doctors and 80 percent of nurses needed for the event. Vaccinations for them will begin in mid-June, she added. Meanwhile, vaccinations for Olympic athletes started on June 1 – but Hashimoto said they must anticipate stricter protocols. She remarked that athletes will undergo COVID-19 testing on a daily basis and their movement will be restricted.


Japan getting ready with Tokyo Olympics – which the pandemic delayed

The guidelines Hashimoto announced were part of the committee's efforts to reassure skeptics that the Olympics will be safe. The onset of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic pushed back the event's start from 2020 to mid-2021.

Aside from reporters, the organizing committee has also banned overseas spectators from attending. It has also said that domestic spectators wishing to watch the games will be limited – with the actual number to be released this month. A May 31 report by Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun also noted a number of rules that people who plan to watch the Olympics must adhere to.

According to the Yomiuri article, spectators must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test before they are allowed to enter sports venues. Once inside, they must fill in health check forms and wear masks at all times. According to government officials, the rules are part of "stricter countermeasures" aimed to curb the spread of COVID-19 during the Olympics. (Related: Tokyo Olympics audience members need to be vaccinated or show a negative coronavirus test result to attend.)

The report also states that spectators watching the Tokyo Olympics are not allowed to cheer loudly, eat, drink alcohol or high-five other audience members. Security personnel will be stationed around venues to monitor spectators' behavior – with violators to be denied entrance or kicked out for any infractions. It also remarked that public viewing venues for the Olympics will be scaled down.

Most national surveys conducted in Japan have shown that citizens believe that the Olympics ought to be postponed or canceled entirely. One such poll conducted by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper showed more than half of the respondents having this sentiment. Its poll showed 62 percent wanted the Olympics to be canceled or postponed again. However, the organizing committee ruled out any plans of further postponement.

On the other hand, a survey published by Yomiuri on May 31 painted a different picture. According to the poll, 49 percent of Tokyo residents wanted the Olympics to push through. Of this 49 percent, 25 percent wanted to limit the number of people watching live, while 24 percent wanted the Games to proceed sans spectators. The remaining 48 percent of Tokyo residents interviewed in the poll said they wanted the Olympics canceled.

Visit Pandemic.news to read more stories about how Japan is preparing for the Tokyo Olympics during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sources include:




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