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officially confirmed Overseas spectators banned from Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics due Covid-19 pandemic

There has been speculation for weeks that the Japanese authorities would impose the ban, and this was confirmed today at a five-party meeting.

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Olympic Rings outside The Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, Japan (Adam Davy/PA)

Olympic Rings outside The Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, Japan (Adam Davy/PA)

Olympic Rings outside The Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, Japan (Adam Davy/PA)

It has been officially confirmed that no overseas fans will be permitted to attend this summer’s rescheduled Olympics and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

There has been speculation for weeks that the Japanese authorities would impose the ban, and this was confirmed today at a five-party meeting.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), International Paralympic Committee (IPC), Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Tokyo 2020 and Japanese Government met virtually to discuss the issue.

"During the meeting, the IOC and IPC were informed about the conclusion of the Japanese parties not to allow entry into Japan for overseas spectators for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 due to the prevailing worldwide COVID-19 pandemic," said a statement issued afterward.

"Olympic and Paralympic tickets purchased by overseas residents from the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee will be refunded.

"Currently, the COVID-19 situation in Japan and many other countries around the world is still very challenging and a number of variant strains have emerged, whilst international travel remains severely restricted globally.

"Based on the present situation of the pandemic, it is highly unlikely that entry into Japan will be guaranteed this summer for people from overseas.

"In order 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.

"This conclusion will further contribute to ensure safe and secure Games for all participants and the Japanese public."

The IOC and IPC said they "fully respect and accept this conclusion".

Organisers say ticketholders from overseas will soon be informed about how to secure refunds.

About 4.5 million tickets have been sold to Japanese residents, with another estimated one million sold abroad.

Before the postponement, a year ago, Tokyo 2020 was planning to sell 7.8 million tickets. But it remains to be determined whether hotels in Tokyo which had been booked to accommodate overseas spectators will refund booking deposits.

The decision is a big blow to the families of Olympic athletes who would normally have travelled to Japan, but they will now have to follow the progress of family members on television if the Games proceed.

The rescheduled Games are due to begin on July 23 with the Paralympics scheduled to start on August 24.

IOC President Thomas Bach said he was "truly sorry" to disappoint families and friends of athletes, who will now be unable to attend the Games.

Bach said the decision would mean a "great sacrifice", but said it was necessary to ensure the safety of the Games.

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