Foreign viewers will be excluded from the Tokyo Olympics if they open in four months, the IOC and local organizers announced on Saturday (local time).
The decision was made after an online Meeting of the International Olympic Committee, the Japanese government, the Tokyo government, the International Paralympic Committee and local organizers announced.
The move was expected and rumored to be for several months. Officials said the risk is too great to accept overseas ticket holders during a pandemic, an idea that is heavily opposed by the Japanese public. Japan has attributed about 8,800 deaths to Covid-19 and controlled the virus better than most countries.
“In order to provide clarity to overseas ticket holders and allow them to adjust their travel plans at this time, the parties are in Japanese Page concluded they cannot enter Japan at the time of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, “the Tokyo Organizing Committee said in a statement.
It is reported that approximately 1 million tickets are being sold to fans outside of Japan were. The organizers have promised refunds, but these are set by so-called authorized ticket resellers who handle sales outside of Japan. These dealers charge fees of up to 20 percent above the ticket price. It’s not clear if the fees will be reimbursed.
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“We could wait until the very last moment to decide, with the exception of the spectators” said Seiko Hashimoto, the president of the organizing committee. “You need to secure accommodation and flights. So we have to make an early decision, otherwise we will cause them a lot of inconvenience. I know this is a very difficult subject. ”
The financial burden of lost ticket sales lies with Japan. The local organizing committee’s budget referred to $ 800 million in revenue from ticket sales, the third largest source of income in the budget for personal finance. Any budget deficits must be balanced by Japanese government agencies.
Overall, Japan officially spends 15.4 billion US dollars on the organization of the Olympic Games. Several government audits have shown that the real cost can be twice as much. All but $ 6.7 billion are public funds.
Approximately 4.45 million tickets have been sold to residents of Japan. The organizers are expected to announce the capacity at the venues occupied by local residents next month.
The ban on fans from abroad comes just days before the start of the Olympic torch relay on Thursday in Fukushima Prefecture in the northeast Japan. It will take 121 days, across Japan with 10,000 runners, and will end on July 23 at the opening ceremony at the National Stadium in Tokyo.
The relay will be a test for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, in which 15,400 athletes will take part. entering Japan. They are tested before departure, tested upon arrival in Japan, and tested frequently while in a safe “bubble” in the athletes’ village next to Tokyo Bay.
Athletes do not need to be vaccinated to enter Japan, but many will be.
During the meeting on Saturday, Bach and others were reminded of the earthquake-prone northeast of Japan – and Japan in general.
A powerful earthquake struck Tokyo and triggered a tsunami warning when Bach and others made introductory remarks before the virtual meeting. The strength was set to 7.0 by the US Geological Survey and the location was in northeastern Japan, an area that was hit by a major earthquake and tsunami in 2011.
“I think the screen is shaking. Did you notice the screen is shaking? “Said Tamayo Marukawa, Japan’s Olympic Minister, when she made her presentation from Tokyo visible on a screen in Switzerland in a long-distance call with Bach. “We’re in the middle of an earthquake right now.”
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