Spectators from abroad are officially barred from attending the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, officials said Saturday, citing the coronavirus pandemic as the reason for the decision.
The long expected decision was after an online meeting of the International Olympic Committee, the Japanese government, the Tokyo government, the International Paralympic Committee, and local organizers, according to the Associated Press.
The games, postponed from summer 2020, will open in four months.
“To give clarity to ticket holders living overseas and to enable them to adjust their travel plans at this stage, the parties on the Japanese side have come to the conclusion that they will not be able to enter into Japan at the time of the Olympic and Paralympic Games,” the Tokyo organizing committee said in a statement obtained by the wire service.
The Japanese public has also opposed fans from abroad and has raised concerns about even hosting the games, among athletes from around the world.
Japan has controlled the virus better than most countries but has roughly 8,800 reported coronavirus-related deaths.
Olympic organizers said 600,000 tickets were sold to fans from outside Japan. They have promised refunds, but this will be determined by so-called Authorized Ticket Resellers that handle sales outside Japan. These dealers charge fees of up to 20% above the ticket price. It is not clear if the fees will be refunded, the Associated Press also reports.