Japan will not allow foreign spectators at the Tokyo Olympics this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic, officials told Kyodo, a news agency in Japan, Reuters reported.
“The decision regarding allowing spectators from overseas to attend the Tokyo 2020 Games will be made by the end of March based on factors including the state of infections in Japan and other countries, possible epidemic-prevention measures, and expert scientific advice will be considered,” the official said.
Concerns about coronavirus variants and the public’s unwillingness for foreign attendees have swayed their decision, according to the report.
Many countries have been concerned about coronavirus variants from the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil. There is evidence showing that the U.K. variant is more contagious and deadly.
The decision is being made between Japan, the International Olympic Committee, International Paralympic Committee, Tokyo 2020 and Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the official said.
Other outlets were reporting that foreign fans would not be allowed at the games at the beginning of March.
“In the current situation it is impossible to bring in foreign spectators,” another government official told Mainichi, a Japanese newspaper.
The Olympics have already lost billions of dollars after having to cancel the Olympics last year due to the pandemic, and now it could lose $800 million from the decrease in fans.
“The organising committee has decided it is essential to hold the ceremony in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima behind closed doors, only permitting participants and invitees to take part in the event, to avoid large crowds forming amid the pandemic,” officials told Kyodo.
Japan has had more tha 440,000 reported cases of the virus and more than 8,000 deaths.