Foreign spectators have been banned from the Summer Olympics in Tokyo over coronavirus concerns, the Associated Press reported.
Organizers announced the decision Saturday after a meeting between the International Olympic Committee, the Japanese government, Tokyo authorities, and the International Paralympic Committee.
Officials decided the risk posed by the pandemic was still too great to allow foreign visitors, the Associated Press reported.
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
“In order to give clarity to ticket holders living overseas and to enable them to adjust their travel plans at this stage, the parties on the Japanese side have come to the conclusion that they will not be able to enter into Japan at the time of the Olympic and Paralympic Games,” the Tokyo organizing committee said, according to the AP. (RELATED: REPORT: High Fives, Handshakes And Hugs Won’t Be Allowed At The Summer Olympics In Tokyo)
Japanese residents are reportedly in favor of the decision. Surveys indicate that 80% of the Japanese public oppose hosting the Olympics at all, and a similar percentage disapprove of permitting foreign spectators to attend, the AP reported.
Foreigners purchased 600,000 tickets to the Summer Olympics and 30,000 tickets to the Paralympic games, which is also barring foreign visitors. International ticket-holders will now have to seek refunds, The New York Times reported.
The organizing committee budget required $800 million in ticket sales, which would account for one-third of the budget. The Japanese government will be responsible for the financial burden posed by the lost sales, The AP reported.