Japan’s professional basketball and volleyball leagues on Tuesday urged the ruling Liberal Democratic Party to allow the entry of foreign players who are being kept out of the country by a travel ban aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus.
Representatives from basketball’s B. League and volleyball’s V. League made their demands at a meeting of an LDP sports study committee.
Both leagues face the prospect of opening their seasons in October minus many of their top players and coaches under the current travel ban on foreigners from 129 countries and regions.
The majority of the V. League’s 40 foreign players and staff are unable to enter the country, while the B. League says some 110 players and 20 coaches are being kept out by the ban.
While men’s national basketball team head coach, Argentine Julio Lamas, has been granted entry, several B. League officials are stuck outside Japan.
“Foreign players give life to the league and help make our Olympic team stronger,” a V. League official told the committee.
The Japanese government has attracted criticism for leaving many long-term foreign residents of Japan stranded outside the country under the ban, which lumps them together with tourists and other nonessential travelers.
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