Foreign spectators to be barred from Tokyo Olympics

International spectators will not be allowed to enter Japan for this summer's Olympic Games amid public concerns over coronavirus, organizers said on Saturday (March 20).

The ruling sets the stage for a drastically scaled-back event.

Here's Tokyo 2020 president, Seiko Hashimoto.

"Based on the present situation, it is highly difficult to guarantee people from overseas will be able to enter Japan this summer. In order to give clarity to ticket holders living overseas and to enable them to adjust their travel plans at this stage, the Japanese side have come to the conclusion that they will not be able to enter into Japan at the time of Games."

Organizers say some 600,000 Olympic tickets purchased by overseas residents will be refunded, as will another 300,000 Paralympic tickets.

The Olympic Games were postponed last year due to the global health crisis.

While the outbreak has chilled public opinion toward the event, both organizers and Japan's prime minister have vowed to press ahead.

Organizers say the decision will "ensure safe and secure Games for all participants and the Japanese public".

The Games are scheduled to begin on July 23rd.

Media polls have shown a majority of the Japanese public were wary about letting in international spectators to watch the Games as the country grapples with the tail-end of a third wave of the pandemic.