August 17 2021
TOKYO – Many people have voiced support for a decision made Monday to hold the Tokyo Paralympics with no live spectators in principle at all venues amid the rapid resurgence of the novel coronavirus in Japan.
“It’s unavoidable for the Paralympic Games to take place behind closed doors” in light of the rising number of new infection cases, a 66-year-old man said in front of an Olympic rings monument installed near the Japan National Stadium in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward, where the opening ceremony will be held Aug. 24.
Still, the man, from Kokubunji in the Japanese capital, pinned hopes on a program for elementary, junior and senior high, and special-needs school students to watch Paralympic events, saying, “Children will be given an opportunity to watch Paralympic athletes and learn what they can achieve even with their disabilities.”
“It was the right decision,” said Ami Kusano, a 21-year-old university student from Fuchu, Tokyo, who is slated to take part in the Paralympic Games as a volunteer.
“It’s important for athletes to be able to compete in a safe environment and do their best,” she said, supporting the decision by the Japanese government, the Paralympics Games organizing committee, the Tokyo metropolitan government and the International Paralympic Committee. “I want the safety of children joining the school program to be ensured,” Kusano added.