With about a year to go until the start of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, the government has kicked off a special initiative allowing foreign nationals involved in preparations to obtain long-term visas.
The visas are expected to be given to about 700 people, such as those from the International Olympic Committee, sports federations, television stations with broadcasting rights and sponsor corporations.
It is the first time for Japan to issue special visas for people involved in the Olympics. Foreign personnel involved in the 1964 Tokyo Summer Games, the 1972 Sapporo Winter Games and the 1998 Nagano Winter Games had to apply for back-to-back short-term visas to extend their stays.
Tokyo 2020 organizers requested that the government grant long-term visas on the grounds that the upcoming games will be larger in scale than when Japan hosted the Olympics in the past.
On June 17, the government added individuals nominated by the organizing committee to the list of those eligible to receive long-term visas under the designated activities category. The category is usually applied to amateur sports players and people working for diplomats.
Three types of visas allowing holders to stay for three months, six months and a year will be issued to people involved in the games. The permits can be renewed through around summer 2021, when post-games work is expected to be completed.
Holders of these visas will also be allowed to bring their spouses and children to Japan.