Tokyo Olympics Enforce Entry Bans for International Spectators

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Tokyo Olympics Enforce Entry Bans for International Spectators

Tokyo Olympics itself is still beset with many troubles ahead of its opening date on July 23, and enthusiasm for the event is now being tempered by the announcement that overseas spectators will not be allowed entry to the Olympic competition venues or the opening / closing ceremonies.

The decision, reached jointly by the Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee, the IOC, the Tokyo metropolitan government, and the Japanese national government, is one that many believe has been made some time ago. With Japan infection rates lower than many other countries, and vaccination only just getting started in Japan, the possibility of incoming tourists triggering a new wave of infections has been a frequent point of discussion about the types of health protocol measures to take.

Committee Chair Seiko Hashimoto explained the priorities by:

It's a shame [overseas viewers are not allowed in], but this is a resolution reached to organize the Olympics in a safe and secure manner for the competing athletes and the Japanese public.

When saying Japanese people Hashimoto refers to Japanese residents, not Japanese citizens or ethnic Japanese, as foreign residents in that category are not prohibited from attending the Tokyo Olympics.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike also expressed grief when he called the decision unavoidable.

As a host city, this is an opportunity for people from all over the world to firsthand experience and enjoy the attractions and culture of Tokyo together with our local residents, and it's a shame it has happened like this.

Ban has also affected the Tokyo Paralympics, which are scheduled to open on August 24, one month after the Olympics. However, the ban itself may be redundant, as Japan is still closed for international tourist travel, and may not reopen by the time the Olympics are scheduled to start. In announcing the entry ban, officials cited not only the problem of infection, but also the inability to guarantee easy arrival / departure from Japan for tourists.

Koike continued that I think people from all over the world who interact with each other via the Internet can be a new aspect of the Olympics and Paralympics and expressed his hope that by watching the settlement remotely, they can share experiences and emotional connections among fans. However, the opportunity for fans from other countries to interact directly with the people of Tokyo is a sad, if necessary, development.

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