Japanese organisers have reduced by more than 50 per cent the expected number of visiting officials at the Tokyo Olympics amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The number will be cut to about 78,000 for the events in July, August and Paralympics in September.
The Tokyo Olympics organising committee said they had estimated about 177,000 officials would visit the Tokyo Games and the Paralympics before the outbreak of the coronavirus last year, which delayed the Games by 12 months.
The committee now expects a total of about 59,000 officials from overseas to come to the Olympics, down sharply from 141,000 it had initially planned.
Organisers also slashed the number of officials expected to attend the Paralympics to about 19,000 officials from 36,000.
Organising committee chief executive Toshiro Muto said they will make a final decision in June on how many spectators will be allowed to enter venues.
The IOC and Japanese organisers agreed in March to ban overseas spectators from attending the Games due to the pandemic.
The organisers also plan to cut 30 per cent of about 10,000 medical staff they had initially planned for during the Games as part of simplification efforts, they said.
Doctors and nurses in Japan have expressed strong opposition to the Olympics with hospitals strained by rising numbers of coronavirus infections across the country, while the IOC and Japanese organisers press ahead with the Games.
Also on Wednesday, the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) said Japan’s Olympic athletes will soon start to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, despite the extremely slow pace of vaccination in the country.
The inoculations for about 1,600 people, including coaches and some 600 athletes, will kick off on June 1 ahead of the scheduled July 23 start of the Games, the JOC said.
IOC president Thomas Bach said last week more than 80 per cent of the residents in the Olympic Village will be vaccinated by the time of the delayed Tokyo Games.
The IOC and local organisers have repeatedly vowed to deliver a “safe and secure” Games with strict coronavirus countermeasures.
Japan has been struggling to curb another wave of the pandemic. Ten prefectures, including Tokyo, have been under another state of emergency amid surging cases.
Tokyo, which has been under the measure since late April, reported 743 new infections on Wednesday, exceeding 700 for the first time in six days.
Tokyo Olympics coordination commission chair John Coates told the meeting on Friday the Games will be staged even under a state of emergency.
His comment sparked anger on social media as 60 to 80 per cent of Japanese people oppose the Tokyo Olympics amid the pandemic.