The Government Information Service of the Netherlands has announced that, due to the current travel restrictions, King Willem-Alexander will not be able to travel to Tokyo for the Olympic Games as previously scheduled.
With the Games set to start on the 21st of July, and the opening ceremony being scheduled for the 23rd of July, Japan, and the Tokyo Prefecture, in particular, are struggling to come up with solutions to keep the Games going despite a rising number of cases in the Japanese capital.
The latest decision taken by the Tokyo Olympic Committee is to ban the public from all competitions taking place in Tokyo. Other prefectures may decide otherwise, and that may mean that some competitions (such as sailing, or open water swimming) will still be able to host members of the public in the stands. This is not certain, however, and it will be up to the single prefectures to make that decision.
King Willem-Alexander, however, will not give up his dose of the Olympic spirit: it was announced that His Majesty will travel to the beach of Scheveningen next week, to open the Olympic Festival, an event that will allow the Dutch population to watch the Olympics on big screens and to practice some of the sports themselves.
His Majesty has been an Honorary Member of the International Olympic Committee since 1998 and he has rarely skipped an edition of the Games, whether they were summer or winter Olympics. The only exception so far was the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games, because at the time he was on his honeymoon. 2021 is going to be a second exception, and no doubt the King is disappointed.
This news also casts doubts on the possibility that Princess Margriet, Princess Beatrix’s sister, will be able to travel to the Japanese capital for the Paralympic Games, for which she has often travelled to support the Dutch team, being an Honorary Member of the Paralympic Committee.