International spectators will not be allowed to enter Japan for this summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games amid public concerns over the coronavirus, organizers said March 20, crushing many fans’ hopes and setting the stage for a drastically scaled-back event.
Some 600,000 Olympic tickets purchased by overseas residents will be refunded, as will another 30,000 Paralympic tickets, Toshiro Muto, the chief executive of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, told a news conference.
He declined to say how much the refunds would cost.
The games were postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the outbreak has chilled public opinion toward the event, both organizers and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga have vowed to press ahead, with the Olympics scheduled to take place on July 23-Aug. 8, followed by the Paralympics on Aug. 24-Sept. 5.
The decision on international spectators will “ensure (a) safe and secure Games for all participants and the Japanese public,” Tokyo 2020 organizers said in a statement following talks that included the head of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, and Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike.
“People involved in the Olympics in some way may be allowed to enter the country, whereas regular visitors will not be able to,” Tokyo 2020’s Muto said. (Reuters)