THIS YEAR'S TOKYO OLYMPIC and Paralympic Games will take place without any overseas spectators after organizers decided to ban international fans from attending the events over COVID-19 concerns.
The decision was made during a virtual meeting between the various stakeholders on Saturday.
Statement in full:
Today (Saturday), 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 virtually. During the meeting, the IOC and IPC were informed, as outlined below, about the conclusion 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 the goal of welcoming domestic and overseas spectators, celebrating the athletes, and embodying the values of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
However, following the postponement of the Games due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 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 3 March 2021 that a final decision would be announced by the end of March.
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.
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 today’s 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.
We will continue to do our utmost to deliver a safe and secure Games in the hopes that the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be a light of hope for people all over the world.
Comment from 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.
IOC and IPC statement
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) were today (Saturday) informed by the Japanese parties in the five-parties meeting about their conclusion regarding overseas spectators at the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 this summer. For the reason of the safety of every Games participant and the Japanese people, their conclusion is fully respected and accepted by the IOC and the IPC.
During the meeting, the IOC and the IPC were informed that, as outlined in the full statement by Tokyo 2020, the conclusion of the Japanese parties is 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 Games tickets purchased by overseas residents from the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee will be refunded.
“We share the disappointment of all enthusiastic Olympic fans from around the world, and of course the families and friends of the athletes, who were planning to come to the Games,” said IOC president Thomas Bach. “For this I am truly sorry. 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.
“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 organise safe Olympic and Paralympic Games for everyone: all the participants and, of course, our gracious hosts, the Japanese people. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder at the side of our Japanese partners and friends, without any kind of reservation, to make the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 a great success.
“Together with our Rights-Holding Broadcasters, we will make every effort so that the fans from around the world will be able to experience the Olympic spirit. In this way, the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be the light at the end of the tunnel and a safe manifestation of peace, solidarity and the resilience of humankind in overcoming the pandemic.”