Overseas spectators will be barred from Olympics

NHK -- Mar 21
A decision has been made to bar overseas spectators from the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer due partly to the unpredictability of coronavirus variants.

A five-way meeting on Saturday brought together members of the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee, the Tokyo Games organizing committee, the Japanese government and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

The Japanese side said it would be difficult to allow overseas spectators into the country under the circumstances.

The IOC and the IPC said they respect and accept Japan's decision.

The Tokyo Games organizing committeechief,Hashimoto Seiko said, "countries around the world, including Japan, are strictly restricting cross-border travel. The current situation makes it difficult to guarantee free entry into Japan from abroad this summer."

Limits on the number of spectators will be decided next month, taking into consideration professional sports events being held in Japan and the government's guidelines on the number of spectators admitted into those events.

Five organizations preparing for the Games decided last March to postpone the event by one year for the first time in the history of the Games due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Olympics are now scheduled to start on July 23rd and the Paralympics on August 24th.