Foreign Fans Banned From Tokyo Olympics Over COVID Fears | News on the coronavirus pandemic

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics were postponed last year to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Overseas fans will be excluded from this year’s Tokyo Olympics, postponed by the pandemic, due to lingering coronavirus concerns, organizers said on Saturday.

The decision was announced after an online meeting of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Japanese government, the Tokyo government, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and local organizers.

“In order to give more clarity to ticket holders residing abroad and allow them to adjust their travel plans at this point, the parties on the Japanese side have concluded that they will not be able to enter Japan at the time of the Games. Olympic and Paralympic, ”the Tokyo 2020 organizing body said in a statement.

The IOC and the IPC “fully respect and accept this conclusion,” the statement added.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics were postponed last year to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Japan has attributed around 8,800 deaths to COVID-19 and has controlled the virus better than most countries.

Around one million tickets were reportedly sold to fans outside of Japan, while 4.45 million tickets were reportedly sold to Japanese residents.

“We could wait until the very last moment to decide, except for the spectators,” said Seiko Hashimoto, chairman of the organizing committee. “They need to secure accommodation and flights. So we have to decide early, otherwise we will cause them a lot of inconvenience. I know this is a very difficult question.

IOC President Thomas Bach called the decision a “difficult decision”.

“We have to make decisions that may require sacrifices on everyone’s part,” he said.

The financial burden of sales of lost tickets falls on Japan. Overall, Japan officially spends $ 15.4 billion to host the Olympics. Several government audits indicate that the real cost may be double. Everything but $ 6.7 billion is public money.

Organizers are expected to announce the capacity of the venues next month, which will be occupied by local residents.

The ban on foreign supporters comes just days before the start of the Japanese Olympic torch relay on Thursday in Fukushima prefecture, east of Fukushima.

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