Overseas fans to be barred from Tokyo Olympics

International spectators will not be allowed to enter Japan during this summer’s delayed Olympic Games amid public concerns over the coronavirus, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Organising Committee said on Saturday.

Olympic and Paralympic tickets purchased by overseas residents will be refunded, according to a statement released following a five-party meeting including the head of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, and Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike.

“It’s very unfortunate,” Koike said of the decision to reporters after the meeting, but added that the conclusion was “unavoidable” given that the main priority for holding a successful Games would be the health of the athletes and the Japanese public.

The Olympic Games, postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are now scheduled for July 23 to Aug. 8, and the Paralympics from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5.

Earlier on Saturday, Kyodo news service also reported that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Organising Committee is leaning towards barring foreign volunteers from helping at the Games.

Media polls show that a majority of the Japanese public are wary about letting in international spectators to watch the Games as the country grapples with the tail-end of a third wave of the pandemic.

Sources told Reuters earlier this month that the Japanese government has concluded it will not be able to allow spectators from abroad.

Tokyo 2020 organisers say to refund around 600,000 Olympic tickets

Organisers of the Tokyo Olympics will refund around 600,000 tickets for the Games and another 300,000 for the Paralympics, the chief executive of the organising committee said.

Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto made the comment at a news conference on Saturday after organisers said they would bar international spectators from entering Japan for the Olympics because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Muto said they would not be announcing how much the refunds would cost.

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