• Kyodo

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Japan’s Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto said Tuesday the government will consider easing travel restrictions for foreign athletes and games officials attending the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, which were postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hashimoto indicated that measures to prevent the spread of the virus will be required in order to ease travel restrictions, saying that Japan will be in a “difficult situation” without such action plans.

“We would like to think this through carefully by being considerate about the athletes and related parties,” Hashimoto told a press conference.

Sources have said the government considers it necessary to put in place a system that will allow athletes and related parties to enter Japan even if the virus situation prevents it from lifting the entry ban on certain countries and regions.

Since February, Japan has tightened travel restrictions for inbound visitors as part of its border control measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19-causing virus.

The games organizing committee is expected to draw up specific countermeasures against the virus as early as this fall after monitoring the pandemic situation.

The Olympics are slated to be held from July 23-Aug. 8 next year, followed by the Paralympic Games between Aug. 24-Sept. 5.

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