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Foreign spectators won’t be allowed at Tokyo Olympics

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Posted: Saturday, March 20, 2021. 5:14 pm CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Tokyo 2020 organizers announced today that foreign fans will not be allowed at Tokyo Olympics in July and the Paralympic Games in August.

The decision was taken after months of serious consideration following the postponement of both events last year at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG), the Organizing Committee Tokyo 2020, and the Government of Japan made the decision during a video conference held to make the final determination amid public cries to further postponed or cancel the games.

The official IOC statement says the decision to not allow foreign spectators to the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 was taken by the Japanese parties “due to the prevailing worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.”

“In many ways, the Tokyo 2020 Games will be completely different to any previous Games. However, the essentials of the Games will remain unchanged, as athletes give their utmost and inspire the world with transcendent performances,” Tokyo 2020 President HASHIMOTO Seiko.

“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,” Seiko concluded.

The Japanese authorities had announced in December, when Japan barred entries into the country, that they would make a decision regarding foreign spectators by the spring of 2021. Then, on March 3, the organizers said that a final decision would be announced before the end of the month.

So, today’s announcement comes as no surprise though now the organizers are going to have to deal with refunds headache.

Foreign fans had bought 600,000 tickets to the Olympic events while 300,000 had purchased tickets for the Paralympics Games.

Even though Japan has had a relatively low number of coronavirus cases and deaths (8,700) compared to other countries, the Japanese government and people feared that the influx of foreign visitors would drive up the numbers.

Polls in Japan report that close to 80 percent of the Japanese surveyed want the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games either postponed or canceled. People are said to be fearful because even if foreign fans are not allowed, thousands of athletes, coaches, officials, and journalists from all over the world will be allowed in for at least a month for each event.

“We will continue to do our utmost to deliver a safe and secure Games in the hopes that the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be a light of hope for people all over the world,” the Tokyo 2020 organizers said.

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