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A visitor to the Japan Olympics Museum poses with the Olympic rings near the new National Stadium in Tokyo, Jan. 22, 2020.
A visitor to the Japan Olympics Museum poses with the Olympic rings near the new National Stadium in Tokyo, Jan. 22, 2020. (Hana Kusumoto/Stars and Stripes)

WASHINGTON — First lady Jill Biden will attend the Opening Ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics next week, the White House announced Tuesday.

News of the first lady’s attendance at the ceremony on July 23 comes days after organizers announced that they will bar local spectators from all Olympic events held in and around Tokyo, as rising coronavirus infections and the spread of the highly contagious delta variant spurred the capital to impose a new state of emergency.

President Joe Biden is not expected to attend but “will certainly be rooting for the athletes,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters last month.

News of the first lady’s attendance was first reported by NBC News.

Olympic organizers had announced last month that they would allow some domestic spectators to attend events. They capped attendance at 10,000 or 50 percent of a venue’s capacity, but warned at the time that they might change course if infections rose again.

That’s exactly what happened. Seiko Hashimoto, president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee, said at a news conference last week that “in order to prevent the spread, this was the only choice available for us to take.”

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