ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon Twitter
Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Tokyo Olympics to ban foreign spectators as COVID precaution

Plan to welcome 1m fans ditched as virus rages amid slow global vaccine rollout

Japan’s hopes of welcoming 1 million overseas visitors to the Olympics are dashed as coronavirus continues to plague countries.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- The Tokyo Olympics organizing committee has decided to close the games to foreign visitors on worries about the spread of the coronavirus, Nikkei learned on Tuesday.

The Japanese government had initially hoped to welcome around 1 million spectators from abroad to support tourism-reliant businesses. However, with the virus continuing to spread globally, the committee made the decision to close the games to overseas fans to ensure safety.

The decision will be made official before the start of the torch relay in Fukushima Prefecture on March 25. The International Olympic Committee, however, has requested that foreign sponsors and overseas Olympic committees be allowed to visit to watch the games and is in the midst of making arrangements to this end.

The Tokyo committee last week held discussions with representatives from the IOC and International Paralympic Committee and agreed to make a decision regarding foreign fans within March and to decide on the maximum number of spectators for each venue by the end of April.

As the virus continues to spread, it is also mutating into new variants. The U.K. has identified a more contagious variant of the disease that has now reached Japan.

Japan in December barred foreigners from entering the country. In January, the government was forced to halt a business travel agreement with 11 countries and regions, including China and South Korea, as it expanded its COVID-19 state of emergency to multiple prefectures.

Most developed countries have begun vaccine drives, but many of their poorer neighbors are still struggling to secure supplies and distribute jabs. The organizing committee feared that welcoming spectators from around the world could lead to another surge in infections that might further pressure Japan's hospitals and medical staff.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 1 month for $0.99

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends January 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to Nikkei Asia has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more