Japan Weighing Banning Alcohol in Public Areas of Olympic Village, Won't Police Individual Rooms

Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics are considering banning alcohol from the Olympic Village.

"We have not yet clearly decided on the [alcohol] policy," Tokyo organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto told Japanese media Wednesday. "We hope to do so by the end of this month."

Many bars and restaurants in Tokyo are still closing early and banning alcohol sales under the extending COVID-19 state of emergency, set to end June 20.

While it may be difficult to ban alcohol from private rooms, Muto said alcohol may not be allowed in public areas.

"In the case that they were to drink inside their own rooms—this is equivalent to cases where we are drinking in our own home," Muto said "Can we prohibit that? That's not conceivable," Muto added. "It would be very difficult to do so."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Alcohol Ban in Olympic Village
Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto attends the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games' executive board meeting in Tokyo on June 8. The Tokyo organizing committee said it will decide by the end of June whether to ban alcohol in public areas in and around the Olympic Village during the Games. Behrouz MEHRI/AFP via Getty Images

Depending how the question is asked, 50-80 percent of Japanese people oppose holding the Olympics. If the state of emergency is extended, many Japanese residents might not be happy seeing athletes partying in the village when regular citizens cannot do the same in local pubs.

New cases have been falling in Tokyo over the last several weeks. Japan overall has attributed about 14,000 deaths to COVID-19, good by global standards but not as good as some Asian neighbors.

Looking for more fun? There's the matter of GPS monitoring.

Muto said athletes—as well as media, broadcasters and others—will have to sign papers allowing organizers to use GPS to monitor their movements at the Olympics through smartphones.

Athletes will be isolated in a bubble-atmosphere in the village and are expected to stay there, or be in a similar bubble at venues or training sites.

Everyone else entering Japan for the Olympics will be tested twice before leaving home, and upon arrival in Japan. They will have to agree to limit their movements for the first 14 days and submit an activity plan.

"We are not going to monitor at all times the behavior," Muto said. "It's not for that purpose. The thing is, though, if there should be issues pertaining to their activity then, since the GPS function will be on, we'll be able to verify their activities."

Tokyo Olympics Alcohol Ban
Tokyo organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto speaks at a news conference after IOC Executive Board Meeting in Tokyo on Wednesday. The committee is considering a ban on alcohol in public areas in and around the Olympic Village. im Kyung-Hoon/Pool photo via AP