No overseas onlookers for Tokyo Olympics



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Tokyo Olympics without foreign fans Image: Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee

The Five Parties (the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG), the Organising Committee Tokyo 2020 and the Government of Japan) met in the hybrid mode on March 20th, 2021 and arrived at a decision not to allow overseas spectators for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 as coronavirus numbers are continuing to rise all over the world.

‘The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee’ stated that during the virtual meeting, the IOC and IPC were informed about the decision of the Japanese parties not to allow entry into Japan for overseas spectators for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 due to the prevailing worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Olympic and Paralympic tickets purchased by overseas residents from the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee will be refunded.

Ever since the 2013 election of Tokyo as the host of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, all five parties have been preparing for the Tokyo 2020 Games with full gusto with the goal of welcoming domestic and overseas spectators, celebrating the athletes and embodying the values of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be celebrated from July 23rd to August 8th, 2021. They also agreed on new dates for the Paralympic Games, which will be celebrated from August 24th until September 5th, 2021.

However, following the postponement of the Games in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic which still has the world caught in its vicious whirlpool, the Japanese Coordination Meeting for COVID-19 Countermeasures at the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 issued an interim summary in December 2020 that included the following statement on overseas spectators: “The decision whether to accept overseas spectators will be made by the Spring of 2021 taking into consideration the COVID-19 situation in Japan and overseas, immigration regulations in force at the time, and any prevailing restrictions on the attendance of sporting events.” The five parties agreed on March 3rd, 2021 that a final decision would be announced by the end of March.

‘The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee’ further stated that presently, the COVID-19 situation in Japan and many other countries around the world is still very challenging and a number of variant strains have emerged, whilst international travel remains severely restricted globally. Based on the present situation of the pandemic, it is highly unlikely that entry into Japan will be guaranteed this summer for people from overseas. 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 Olympics and Paralympic Games. This conclusion will further contribute to ensure safe and secure Games for all participants and the Japanese people.

In line with their principle of safety first for all participants and out of respect for all the parties on the Japanese side, the IOC and IPC announced in the above Five Parties meeting that they fully respect and accept this conclusion.

Under these circumstances, ticketholders from overseas will soon be informed of the refund mechanism. Accredited Games participants coming to Japan this summer will continue to be required to follow the Tokyo 2020 Playbooks for their stakeholder group. A second version will be released by the end of April.

The above parties came to the decision that they will continue to do their utmost to deliver safe and secure Games in the hope that the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be a light of hope for people all over the world.

Stated Tokyo 2020 President Hashimoto Seiko, “In many ways the Tokyo 2020 Games will be completely different to any previous Games. However, the essential of the Games will remain unchanged as athletes give their utmost and inspire the world with transcendent performances. 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. 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 2020 Games.”

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