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Overseas Spectators Might Not Be Permitted to Attend This Year's Tokyo Olympics

When the postponed 2020 games go ahead, international fans might be restricted to watching them on television.
By Sarah Ward
March 10, 2021
By Sarah Ward
March 10, 2021

When Australia started to get excited about Brisbane potentially hosting the 2032 Olympic Games — with the Queensland capital named as the preferred host last month — one important detail stood out. Planning for an event 11 years away is all well and good (and necessary, of course), but the 2020 Tokyo Olympics hasn't yet been held, with the Games postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic.

With COVID-19 case numbers still high around the world, there has been much speculation about whether the Tokyo Olympics will go ahead this year, too; however, Japan is currently forging ahead with its plans. Much will likely be different about the event, which is slated to run from Friday, July 23–Sunday, August 8 — and a lack of overseas spectators looks set to be one of the big changes.

The Kyodo News Agency is reporting that the Japanese government has decided to exclude international fans from attending both the Olympics and the Paralympics, in a bid to stop the coronavirus spreading at the event. The move is sparked by fears of more contagious variants of the coronavirus that are in circulation outside of Japan. At present, restrictions on international travellers entering the country are in place in general.

Japanese officials are due to meet with the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee by the end of March to make a final decision on overseas spectators, and then to decide capacity levels — including whether Japanese spectators will be permitted to attend at all, too — for the Games in April.

If international spectators are banned from attending, current ticket holders that fall into that category would receive refunds.

Spectators would also be banned from the opening ceremony for the torch relay, which is due to kick off on Thursday, March 25 in Fukushima.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport via Wikimedia Commons

Of course, even if Japan does allow folks from overseas to travel to Tokyo to attend the Games, both Australia and New Zealand presently have international travel restrictions in effect. In Australia, a travel ban is still in place until at least mid-June, with Aussies unable to depart the nation unless they seek an exemption from Home Affairs. And in New Zealand, the government still currently advises that all New Zealanders do not travel overseas at present.

For more information about the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, which are due to be held from Friday, July 23–Sunday, August 8, 2021, head to the event's website.

Via Kyodo News Agency. Top image: IOC Media.

Published on March 10, 2021 by Sarah Ward
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