James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Tokyo Olympics 'will go ahead without overseas spectators', report suggests
9 March 2021, 13:27 | Updated: 10 March 2021, 05:10
The Japanese Government has decided this summer's 2021 Tokyo Olympics will go ahead without overseas spectators, according to a report.
Athletics fans around the world hoping to attend the iconic quadrennial event have seemingly been dealt a blow amid reports Japanese ministers have agreed to bar overseas spectators.
The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics were originally scheduled for the summer of 2020 but have been postponed until later this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Anonymous officials said the decision to keep foreign spectators away from the Games was to prevent the spread of Covid-19, according to the Japanese Kyodo News agency.
It comes after representatives from the event's five organizing bodies, such as the International Paralympic Committee and the Tokyo metropolitan government, agreed on 3 March to come to a conclusion on overseas fans by the end of the month.
A decision will then be made in April on the number of people allowed into stadiums and venues, Kyodo reports.
The agency also writes that Japan's Government and its Games organising committee are expected to hold a remote meeting with the International Olympic Committee and two other bodies later in March to make a formal decision on the issue of foreign fans.
Ministers have reportedly concluded that allowing overseas visitors during the pandemic is not possible, according to the anonymous officials.
It comes amid concerns among the Japanese public over the spread of the virus and its more contagious variants in a number of countries.
The officials also reportedly said the opening ceremony of the torch relay will be held without spectators to prevent Covid transmissions.
President of the Japanese committee Seiko Hashimoto told reporters last 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."
The Olympics are set to take place between 23 July and 8 August, followed by the Paralympics from 24 August to 5 September.