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First international Olympic team arrives in Japan for Tokyo 2020

Tokyo, Jun 1 (EFE).- The Australian women’s softball team landed in Japan on Tuesday, becoming the first overseas squad to arrive for the Tokyo Olympics less than two months before the opening ceremony.

The Australian team, comprised of some 30 players and their support staff, arrived at Tokyo’s Narita airport and were taken for a RT-PCR test that will be mandatory for all competing athletes entering the country.

The team will stay in Japan for the 53 days that remain before the start of the Games to train and acclimatize to local conditions.

They will stay in the central Japanese city of Gunma during the first half of June, Japanese government spokesperson Katsunobu Kato said on Monday.

The arrival of the Australian team takes place amid continued uncertainty about whether the Games will go ahead or not and a lack of public support in Japan for the event, which is scheduled to kick off on July 23 in Tokyo.

All the members of the team are vaccinated and will have to undergo daily Covid-19 tests during the duration of their stay and the competition.

Their movement will be restricted to their hotel and sports facilities as part of prevention measures.

At a press conference after a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Olympic Minister Tamayo Marukawa urged the “collaboration” of local authorities to “protect” citizens and prevent possible infections.

Over 100 local authorities have canceled their plans to host international Olympic teams ahead of the Games due to logistical difficulties related to the pandemic, Marukawa said.

Both the International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 organizers have recommended that national Olympic committees shorten their stays in Japan to participate in the event to the minimum possible duration.

The Australian softball team is scheduled to play several warm-up matches against local teams before their opening game against Japan on July 21 in Fukushima.

Softball is one of the five sports added to the program of the Tokyo Games. EFE

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