The 2020 Olympics are finally almost ready to get going in Tokyo, albeit in 2021.
That they’re happening at all is actually a surprise, and a credit to Japan’s ability to control Covid-19 cases to the point that it’s feasible to go forward. The pandemic numbers there are trending in such a good direction that organizers are reportedly considering allowing domestic spectators to attend, which would be both a big surprise given how things looked very recently, and a huge win for just about everyone. (Including NBC’s television product.)
Whether or not arenas will have fans, there will be a foreign media contingent in Japan to cover the games. They won’t be able to wander freely throughout Tokyo, though, due to various Covid protocols. And this week the chief executive confirmed that those rules will be at least partially enforced by strict monitoring and tracking procedures, including via GPS.
From the Japan Times:
Foreign journalists coming to Japan to cover the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will be closely monitored via GPS to ensure they do not leave preregistered areas, such as hotels and sports venues, Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto said Tuesday.
She clarified the COVID-19 countermeasures relating to media covering the Games in opening remarks ahead of a Tokyo 2020 executive board meeting.
The number of accommodations to be used by visiting journalists will be limited to about 150, down from the originally planned 350, Hashimoto added. “Accommodations will be restricted to those that can be monitored by the organizing committee. We will ask them not to stay at minpaku (private lodgings) or friends’ houses,” she said.
It’s obviously very unfortunate that this is a necessary step. It’s certainly going to make things hard on the journalists subject to these measures, though not as hard as it would be for them to not be allowed to attend and cover at all. How this will work in practice also remains to be seen.
Hopefully this is the last time measures like this are even a consideration, for multiple obvious reasons.