Four months before this summer’s Olympic games will be held in Tokyo, Japan has announced that it is banning spectators from outside the country from attending.
The games had originally been planned for last year, but were scrapped due to the virus.
The decision came against a backdrop of strong anti-games feelings among fans and those who planned to attend, with polls showing almost 80 percent of the public wants the games either delayed again or scrapped altogether, according to The New York Times.
Reuters reported that approximately 600,000 tickets had been purchased by overseas buyers — as well as 300,000 Paralympic tickets — according to Toshiro Muto, the chief executive of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee.
Muto said the Olympics committee would be refunding international tickets, however, it will not cover any costs for canceling hotels.
Banning international spectators will “ensure safe and secure Games for all participants and the Japanese public,” the organizers of this year’s games said in a statement.
“People who are involved in the Olympics in some way may be allowed to enter the country, whereas regular visitors will not be able to,” Muto said.
“If they are part of the operation of the Games, if they are somewhat involved in the operation then there is still a possibility they may be able to enter into Japan,” Muto additionally said, according to ESPN. “But solely as spectators for watching games — no, they will not be allowed to make an entry.”
The Olympics had hoped to rake in an $800 million income from ticket sales.
“The ticketing revenue will be in the decline,” Muto said. “That is very clear at this point.”
The overall cost of the games has been estimated at $15.4 billion, with some officials even approximating the final cost will be twice that amount.
“It’s very unfortunate,” Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said of the decision, according to Reuters.
Koike said the action was “unavoidable” to protect the health of competitors and Japanese citizens.
The Olympics will take place from July 23 to Aug. 8, and the Paralympics will be held from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5.
ESPN reported the Olympics will allow some spectators from Japan, but no decision has been made yet regarding how many people will be allowed to attend at the various venues.
Organizers are also considering reducing the number of staffers who will work at the events, according to Reuters.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.