After weeks of speculation, the Tokyo Olympics organizers have announced that overseas spectators will not be allowed entry into Japan for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The decision came after the Five Parties (the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG), the Organizing Committee Tokyo 2020, and the Government of Japan) took part in a virtual meet on Saturday.
Organizers asserted that the decision was made putting the principle of safety first and foremost amid the ongoing global health crisis.
Organizers also announced that tickets already purchased by overseas spectators for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics would be refunded. They confirmed that the process for refunds would be laid down soon.
Guidelines around domestic spectators attending the Tokyo Olympics are expected to be announced closer to the event.
The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to begin on 23rd July and run through till 8th August.
Working on plans to share support remotely: Tokyo 2020 President Hashimoto Seiko
In a statement, Tokyo 2020 President Hashimoto Seiko stated that organizers would continue to make efforts to bring fans together remotely in a manner that kept the principle of safety at the forefront.
"We are currently working on specific plans to share support remotely from around the world and help bring people together in ways suited to our current times," Hashimoto Seiko stated. "Even if you are no longer able to come to Japan this summer, we hope very much that you will continue to support the Tokyo Olympics."
IOC President Thomas Bach also shared the disappointment of fans but reiterated that the Olympics will continue to follow the safety-first principle.
"We know that this is a great sacrifice for everybody. We have said from the very beginning of this pandemic that it will require sacrifices, "IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement.
“But we have also said that the first principle is safety. Every decision has to respect the principle of safety first. I know that our Japanese partners and friends did not reach this conclusion lightly. Together with them, the IOC’s top priority was, is, and remains to organize safe Olympic and Paralympic Games for everyone: all the participants and, of course, our gracious hosts, the Japanese people."