• Kyodo

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The government is considering exempting visitors from overseas who will attend next summer’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics from the nation’s 14-day quarantine period, a measure currently imposed in principle on international travelers to stem the spread of COVID-19, official sources said Tuesday.

While the government has yet to decide whether to allow spectators from abroad to attend the Summer Games, if approved they will likely be required to test negative for the COVID-19 virus multiple times before departure and have their condition monitored after entry into Japan, according to the sources.

But unlike foreign athletes and staff, for which the government is also planning to ease entry restrictions, spectators will be permitted to use public transport given the difficulties in restricting their movement.

The proposals will be discussed Thursday at a meeting of the central and Tokyo metropolitan governments, as well as the Tokyo Organising Committee.

Even if the attendance of spectators from overseas is approved, the government will give further consideration to whether to permit entry for those arriving from countries where case numbers are on the rise.

Olympic organizers are expected to make their decision regarding the number of spectators who will be allowed into the games by around spring.

The government already plans to allow foreign athletes and staff, including those from countries and regions on which Japan imposes entry bans, to arrive in the nation provided they submit proof of having tested negative for the virus and take sufficient precautionary measures throughout their stay.

The athletes will be able to compete in international tournaments or participate in training camps, even during the two-week quarantine period, if all conditions are fulfilled, with the same rules applying to Japanese athletes who return to the country from abroad.

The government plans to bring forward the introduction of the special system, which will become effective after Thursday’s meeting if approved, to help the athletes prepare for the games, according to the sources.

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