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No international fans will be allowed at 2020 Tokyo Olympics, organizers announce

Liz Roscher
·3-min read

Organizers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics announced on Saturday that international fans will be barred from attending the upcoming rescheduled Summer Games.

The decision was made by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee and the Government of Japan. Those parties determined that fans from overseas will not be allowed entry into Japan due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and released a statement after informing the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee of their decision.

Currently, the COVID-19 situation in Japan and many other countries around the world is still very challenging and a number of variant strains have emerged, whilst international travel remains severely restricted globally. 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. 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.

International fans who have already bought tickets will be refunded.

Seiko Hashimoto, the new president of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, released a statement about the decision to bar international fans from attending.

In many ways the Tokyo 2020 Games will be completely different to any previous Games. However, the essential of the Games will remain unchanged, as athletes give their utmost and inspire the world with transcendent performances. We are currently working on specific plans to share support remotely from around the world and help bring people together in ways suited to our current times. Even if you are no longer able to come to Japan this summer, we hope very much that you will continue to support the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Japanese residents opposed international fans

The announcement isn't a major surprise. It appeared that the Japanese decision-making groups were already leaning that way when they met virtually in early March. There was also a report at that time from an unnamed Japanese official that the decision to bar international fans had already been made.

Regardless of when the decision was reached, the outcome is the same. Overseas fans will not be able to attend the Olympics in person this year. Japanese residents, especially those in Tokyo, are likely to be relieved. In several surveys, over 80 percent of residents opposed allowing international fans to attend or wanted the games to be postponed again.

The 2020 Tokyo Games are scheduled to start July 23.

A man takes pictures in front of the Olympic Rings outside the Japan Olympic Museum in Tokyo on March 20, 2021. (Photo by Philip FONG / AFP) (Photo by PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images)
A man takes pictures in front of the Olympic Rings outside the Japan Olympic Museum in Tokyo on March 20, 2021. (Photo by Philip FONG / AFP) (Photo by PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images)

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