Covid: Overseas spectators barred from attending Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games

Foreign spectators will be barred from the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games due to the coronavirus pandemic. Credit: AP

Foreign spectators will be barred from the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A statement from the five parties involved in the meeting read: “Currently, 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 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“This conclusion will further contribute to ensure safe and secure Games for all participants and the Japanese public.”

Seiko Hashimoto, president of the Tokyo 2020 Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, listens a question during a press conference. Credit: AP

An announcement was made following a meeting of representatives of the International Olympic Committee, International Paralympic Committee, Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Tokyo 2020 organising committee and the government of Japan on Saturday.

The decision comes amid continuing uncertainty during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Olympic Games, which were originally scheduled to take place last year, are due to begin on July 23 and end on August 8.

The Paralympics, which are also affected by the decision, take place from August 24-September 5.

The statement added that tickets purchased overseas through the organising committee will be refunded.

A British Olympic Association (BOA) spokesperson said: “This is very sad news, not only for British fans but particularly for the family and friends of athletes. Whilst it is a very disappointing situation, it does underline the organisers’ determination to stage a safe and secure Olympic Games.

“We are now awaiting detailed clarification from the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee on several points, including the detail of the restrictions, process and timing of refunds for international ticket holders and will stay in touch with fans to keep them updated.

"We will communicate promptly and clearly as and when any information becomes available.”