Tokyo, Mar 20 (efe-epa).- Spectators from abroad will not be allowed to enter Japan for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, which was postponed by a year due to the pandemic, the organizers announced on Saturday.
The Japanese Olympics’ minister Tamayo Marukawa announced the decision after a meeting with the presidents of the local organizing committee, the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee and the Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike.
“At today’s meeting it was decided to abandon the option of welcoming visitors from abroad,” Marukawa said a few minutes before the head of organizing committee Seiko Hashimoto held a press conference.
“Currently, the Covid-19 situation in Japan and in other countries remains challenging,” Hashimoto said.
The decision, which IOC and IPC “completely respect and understand”, will help “guarantee a safe Olympics for all athletes and other participants and also for the Japanese people,” Hashimoto added.
The upcoming Olympics “will be completely different than the past editions,” although the sentiment and expectations will be the same, the head of Tokyo 2020 added.
Although the organizers decided to bar foreigners from entering the country for the Olympics, certain people involved in the organization could enter the country, Hashimoto added without providing further details.
She promised to refund tickets sold. Some 600,000 tickets to attend the Olympics and 30,000 for the Paralympics respectively have been sold for fans outside the country, Hashimoto said.
As part of the coronavirus measures, Japan has closed its border to foreigners since December until further notice. Only Japanese people or residents are allowed in.
The Summer Olympic Games are scheduled for July 23 to Aug. 8, with the Paralympics to follow from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5. EFE-EPA