Overseas spectators to be barred from Tokyo Olympics

2021-03-21 12:02:44

A pedestrian looks at pictures of the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, part of a photo exhibition inside the Tokyo train station building on Sept 8, 2013. [Photo/Agencies] TOKYO -- Overseas spectators will be banned from entering Japan to watch the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer due to COVID-19, the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee announced here on Saturday. Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto told a news conference that the decision has been made by the Japanese parties and been informed to the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee at a virtual meeting earlier. The five-party meeting was attended by IOC President Thomas Bach, IPC chief Andrew Parsons, Japan's Olympic Minister Tamayo Marukawa, Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike, and Hashimoto. A joint statement was released after the meeting, saying that the Japanese side has concluded that "overseas spectators will not be allowed to the Olympic and Paralympic Games because of the COVID-19 pandemic." "The COVID-19 situation in Japan and many countries is still very challenging," it said. "Based on the situation, the parties on the Japanese side has come to a conclusion that no free entry from overseas may be guaranteed this summer." Hashimoto said that a total of 600,000 tickets have sold out of Japan for the Olympic Games and 60,000 for the Paralympic Games. All the tickets will be reimbursed, she said. A decision on how many local fans will be allowed into the venue will be made by the end of April. Bach said that it was a difficult decision on the overseas fans, adding that "we have to take decisions which may need sacrifice from everybody and we have to ask for understanding."