No Cheers: Tokyo Olympic Village considering ban on alcohol

Tokyo organising committee CEO Toshiro Muto speaks at a news conference after IOC Executive Board Meeting in Tokyo, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Pool photo via AP)
Tokyo organising committee CEO Toshiro Muto speaks at a news conference after IOC Executive Board Meeting in Tokyo, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Pool photo via AP)

TOKYO – The Olympic Village has traditionally been a fun place to be, housing thousands of young athletes and staff ready to party and share a few beers and bubbly toasts.

But not at the Tokyo Olympics, which are to open in just over six weeks amid a pandemic. These are going to be the “no cheers" Olympics with testing and vaccinations taking priority over fun and games.

It’s not clear if alcohol will be allowed in the village, which will house 11,000 Olympic athletes and 4,400 Paralympians. Organizers say they have yet to decide on a policy, which is expected by the end of the month.

Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the Tokyo organizing committee, said Wednesday it might be difficult to ban alcohol from the athletes' private rooms in the village, but public areas in the village might be a different matter.

“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, speaking to Japanese media on Wednesday after an online meeting with the International Olympic Committee executive board.

“Can we prohibit that? That’s not conceivable," Muto added. “It would be very difficult to do so.”

But he said it might be banned from dining areas and other public areas in the village.

Tokyo and much of the rest of the country is under a state of emergency, with many bars and restaurants closing early and banning alcohol sales. The emergency order ends on June 20 and it's not clear if it will be extended.