Olympic organizers are trying to stir up some fresh enthusiasm as a long and unusual road to the Games enters its final leg. With Tokyo under another state of emergency, the sporting event is facing new scrutiny.
Thomas Bach, the IOC President, on Tuesday met with the head of the Tokyo Organizing Committee in person for the first time in months.
Bach said, " We are sitting in one boat and we are rowing together with full force in the same direction."
Before the meeting, he, like many others, had to finish a short hotel quarantine.
Signs of the pandemic are apparent elsewhere in the capital, where case numbers are on the rise.
Tuesday saw a tally of 830 new cases, up more than 230 from the same day the week before.
The growing caseload prompted organizers to ban spectators at nearly every event, but not Olympic soccer matches in Miyagi. Its governor hopes to allow a limited number of fans inside the stadium in the town of Rifu.
But the mayor of the neighboring city of Sendai isn't convinced. Kohri Kazuko said, "Many people who feel the matches should be held without spectators have contacted the city. I agree with them." The mayor is concerned the event could trigger a surge in cases.
But she failed to sway Miyagi governor Murai Yoshihiro. He says the majority of local mayors want to see people in the stands.