Organisers have banned foreign spectators from this year’s Tokyo Olympic Games and Paralympics, warning the global COVID-19 situation remains too challenging to allow their entry to Japan.
- Polling showed most Japanese were wary of letting in international spectators
- About 1 million tickets are estimated to have been sold overseas
- Organisers say ticket holders will be given refunds
Around 1 million tickets are estimated to have been sold overseas and organisers say they will be refunded.
Polls showed a majority of the Japanese public were wary about letting in international spectators to watch the games as the country grapples with the tail end of a third wave of coronavirus.
“Based on the present situation of the pandemic, it is highly unlikely that entry into Japan will be guaranteed this summer for people from overseas,” organisers said in a statement.
“In order to give clarity to ticket holders living overseas and to enable them to adjust their travel plans at this stage, the parties on the Japanese side have come to the conclusion that they will not be able to enter into Japan at the time of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“This conclusion will further contribute to ensure safe and secure games for all participants and the Japanese public.”
A State of Emergency covering more than 30 million people in the capital and surrounding prefectures is due to be lifted at midnight on Sunday, despite concerns from health experts that infections are not falling fast enough.
The Olympic Games, which were delayed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, are now scheduled to run from July 23 to August 8, and the Paralympics from August 24 to September 5.
Last week, Tokyo organisers unveiled COVID-19 countermeasures for the torch relay, reducing the number of participants and simplifying the programme for the marquee event to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Participants in the relay will need to be masked, socially distanced from each other and not cheer out loud, organisers said.
More to come.