Japan has banned foreign spectators from attending this year’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics due to the global pandemic of the coronavirus.
A statement issued by the Olympic organizers on Saturday said that the Japanese authorities have reached this conclusion in order to clarify the ticket holders living abroad.
The statement said that the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee fully respect Japan’s decision and recognize it.
Japanese officials told the Olympic and Paralympic Committees that it was extremely difficult for foreign spectators to be assured of entry into the country.
He said the announcement would make the situation clearer for ticket holders and help secure the Games for all participants and the Japanese public.
Last year’s scheduled Olympics were postponed for a year and now the Games are scheduled to take place in Tokyo from July 23, with the Paralympics set to begin on August 24, a month later.
The organizers said that due to the challenging situation of COVID-19 in Japan and other countries of the world, travel restrictions and the spread of a new type of virus, we were forced to make this decision and refund those who bought tickets.
For the first time in history, the World Games were postponed in March last year due to a virus threat, with more than 11,000 athletes from 200 countries taking part.
It has been concluded that overseas spectators will not be allowed entry into Japan for #Tokyo2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We will continue to deliver a safe and secure Games in the hopes that they will be a light of hope. https://t.co/oGUJ1hv8JC
— #Tokyo2020 (@Tokyo2020) March 20, 2021
The head of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Beck, has said that banning foreign spectators is a great sacrifice for everyone.
“We are deeply disappointed to bring this news to the attention of all the enthusiastic Olympic fans and family and friends of the athletes who were planning to come to watch the Games,” he said.
“We have to make safety a top priority in every decision we make, and I know it would not have been easy for our Japanese friends to make that decision, but we did have some reservations,” he apologized to the audience.
“If conditions were better, we would have preferred to ensure the presence of international spectators at the Games, but because of the epidemic we have to admit that we are not living in an ideal world,” said Thomas Beck.
The ban on the participation of foreign spectators has dealt another major financial blow to the organizers of the Tokyo Olympics, who have already suffered considerable financial losses due to the postponement of the Games.
The cost of the games has already risen to 8 2.8 billion due to measures taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which is why the organizers are not ready to postpone the games any further.
Earlier this year, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the games would be a symbol of safety and global solidarity.
However, in a poll conducted by a local Japanese broadcaster, a majority of Japanese people opposed holding the 2021 Olympics and proposed postponing or cancelling them altogether.