The Games were postponed last year because of the pandemic, and opinion polls show a majority of Japanese people say they should not go ahead in the summer.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is strongly encouraging athletes, coaches and officials to get vaccinated before coming to Japan, and has accepted an offer from China to supply vaccines to any Olympic delegations in need of doses. For each vaccine supplied to a participant, the IOC will pay for two more doses for ordinary people in that country.
While athletes can largely be confined in training camps and the Olympic Village, the prospect of a horde of foreign spectators wandering around Tokyo had scared many people.
Hashimoto has said a decision on limits for domestic spectators would be made by the end of April, in accordance with expert advice and government guidelines on spectators. Japan has allowed limited numbers of spectators to attend sporting events through the pandemic, albeit with bans on cheering, shouting, singing and drinking alcohol.
The IOC issued its first “Playbook” for the Tokyo Games last month, indicating that participants will be tested before departure and on arrival, and be expected to avoid social interaction when possible and steer clear of public transport. Spectators will be allowed to clap but asked not to cheer or shout to avoid spreading virus particles.