The Japanese government will ban overseas spectators from attending the Tokyo Olympics

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The Japanese government will ban overseas spectators from attending the Tokyo Olympics
The Tokyo Olympics will have no overseas fans.Getty/Fabrice Coffrini
  • The Japanese government has decided to exclude overseas spectators from attending the Tokyo Olympics, reports Kyodo News.
  • The decision has been made in order to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
  • A poll in January revealed that only 16% of Japanese people think the Olympics should go ahead this year.

The Japanese government has decided to exclude overseas spectators from attending this summer's Tokyo Olympics in order to combat the spread of the coronavirus, according to Japanese news agency Kyodo News.

Kyodo says the government has concluded that welcoming visitors from abroad for the Games will not be possible due to the recent emergence of a number of new variants of COVID-19, many of which are more contagious than the original variant.

The report also states that concerns among the Japanese public about the spread of the virus have influenced the decision.

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Overseas spectators will also be banned from attending the Paralympics, Kyodo said.

Kyodo reports that the government will relay the decision to the public before the opening ceremony of the Olympic torch relay on March 25.

This will take place behind closed doors, according to a separate report from Kyodo earlier in the day.

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Though Japan has not confirmed Kyodo's report on international spectators, the Japan's Olympics chief, Seiko Hashimoto admitted last week that allowing overseas fans into the Games would be difficult.

"We would really like people from around the world to come to a full stadium, but unless we are prepared to accept them and the medical situation in Japan is perfect, it will cause a great deal of trouble also to visitors from overseas," she said, according to Kyodo's report.

The Japanese government will ban overseas spectators from attending the Tokyo Olympics
Carl Court/Getty Images

It also remains unclear how many home spectators to be allowed into venues for the Olympics, with a decision likely to be taken in April, Kyodo said.

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In January, Tokyo 2020 spokesperson Masa Takaya said that holding the Games completely behind closed doors was out of the question.

"We are not willing to see the Games behind closed doors, without spectators," he said. "In an ideal world the Games should be taking place in an atmosphere of celebration, composed by spectators and that is what we want to achieve.

"The Games is also a part of the world; we are part of the society so we need to keep closely monitoring the Covid situation and how the sporting events will be conducted and in what form."

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The same month, a poll by the public broadcaster NHK revealed that only 16% of Japanese people think the Olympics should go ahead this year, while a combined 77% think they should be either postponed again or canceled for good.

38% of those polled expressed support for canceling the Games, while 39% said they'd favor a postponement.

The Tokyo Olympics are set to commence on July 23.

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