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Tokyo 2020 Olympics

IOC to slash number of officials attending Tokyo Olympics

Only athletes and people with 'essential and operational roles' to be allowed in

An Olympic torch relay runner passes through a historical district in Fukushima Prefecture on March 27.  

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The International Olympic Committee has decided to drastically cut the number of officials to attend this summer's Tokyo Games as part of measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The IOC's Executive Board made the decision on Friday to grant accreditation only to people who have "essential and operational roles" at the games.

The IOC said the policy, set in line with a request from Japanese organizers, will slash the number of accredited officials of sports organizations, Olympic athlete legends and accompanying guests.

The decision came one week after the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee and Japanese organizers agreed to stage the games without overseas spectators.

On Friday, sources with knowledge of the planning said the Japanese government is considering halving the number of games-related officials and participants, excluding athletes, to around 30,000.

About 90,000 people had been expected to enter Japan from abroad, including about 30,000 athletes, coaches and team members.

Of the 30,000, whose entry to Japan is expected to be unaffected, about 11,000 are athletes for the Olympics and 4,000 for the Paralympics.

The cuts appear to be aimed at visitors from the IOC and the IPC, as well as national and regional Olympic committees and councils. Those connected with international sports federations and the media, and guests invited by sponsors will also likely be affected.

Japan's Olympic minister Tamayo Marukawa said at a press conference on March 20 that the number of people involved in the games had to be reduced as much as possible.

In April, the organizers, also including the Japanese organizing committee and the governments of Japan and Tokyo, will hold five-party talks and are expected to make a decision on limits on the number of Japan residents at venues of the games, which were postponed for one year due to the pandemic.

As the Japan leg of the torch relay for the Olympics, due to open on July 23, kicked off Thursday, the second versions of the "Playbook" guidelines for holding the games in a safe and secure manner are also expected to be published next month.

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