As Covid-19 vaccination programmes began rolling out around the world at the beginning of this year, there was a flicker of hope that, come summer, social distancing restrictions and travel bans would lift, life would get back to somewhat-normal, and 2021 would be saved.
For anyone looking forward to this year's staging of the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, the timing seemed perfect: scheduled for July 23rd through August 8th, the Tokyo games would have been the ultimate I'm-free-from-lockdown bucket list trip abroad. Unfortunately, it seems like an overseas trip to Japan won't be possible, at least for the time being.
According to a report from Kyodo News, a Japanese new agency, the government "has decided to exclude overseas spectators from attending this summer's Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics" because of ongoing uncertainties around coronavirus mutations in regions around the world. Although the official announcement regarding this travel ban on foreigners has yet to be released, the agency expects a statement to be issued following a meeting between the International Olympic Committee and other governing bodies next week.
"We would really like people from around the world to come to a full stadium, but unless we are prepared to accept them and the medical situation in Japan is perfect, it will cause a great deal of trouble also to visitors from overseas," said Seiko Hashimoto, president of the Japanese committee.
Also to be decided in the following weeks will be regulations surrounding capacity at Olympic game venues. The Japanese leg of the Olympic torch relay will begin on March 25th and official announcements are expected to be released ahead of this date.