The government is considering cutting the number of official Olympic-related travelers to Japan for the games this summer in half to around 30,000 as a countermeasure against the coronavirus pandemic, a source with knowledge of the matter has said.
Approximately 90,000 people are expected to enter the country from abroad, including about 30,000 athletes, coaches and team members. The government would like to cut the number of visitors not directly related to competition in half, the source said Friday.
According to sources familiar with the matter, talks are expected to begin shortly with affected organizations. Japan has already banned overseas spectators for the Olympics and Paralympics. Yet, the government has decided further drastic steps are needed in order to gain public understanding of Japan's staging these events during a health crisis.
The cuts appear aimed at visitors from the International Olympic and International Paralympic committees, as well as national and regional Olympic committees and councils. Those connected with international sports federations and the media, and guests invited by sponsors will also likely be affected.
The International Olympic Committee said Friday its executive board has decided to grant accreditation only to people who have essential and operational roles for the Tokyo Olympics.
The IOC said all the National Olympic Committees and the International Federations are making efforts to significantly reduce their numbers of accredited people.
"The IOC EB has canceled or reduced the IOC Guest Program, the invitations to Olympic athlete legends and a number of other programs. It will also not grant accreditation to any accompanying guest in any category," said the statement.
The organizing committee's plans state that roughly 11,000 Olympians and 4,000 Paralympians are expected to take part this summer. Another 15,000 people, including team officials, will, in principle, not be affected by these cuts.
Olympic minister Tamayo Marukawa told a March 20 news conference that the number of people involved in the games had to be reduced as much as possible.
In April, five-party talks between the organizers, the governments of Japan and Tokyo, and the IOC and IPC will likely discuss limits on the number of Japan residents at Olympic events. The second versions of the "Playbook" guidelines for holding the games in a safe and secure manner are also expected to be published next month.
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