• Kyodo

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Japan’s government has told sports bodies it will temporarily suspend the current entry exemptions that allow foreign athletes to enter Japan in order to train and compete ahead of this summer’s Tokyo Olympics, a source with knowledge of the matter said Thursday.

In principle, non-resident foreign nationals are prohibited from entry into Japan during the current state of emergency, in effect until Feb. 7. The move to suspend athletes’ exemptions is in line with the government ending its exemption for business travelers.

Japanese athletes will still be able to return, but they will no longer be exempt from the 14-day self-quarantine upon arrival and may not practice or compete during that time.

Non-resident foreign athletes and coaches with Japan’s domestic leagues had been exempt from the entry restriction. They will now be prohibited from entering Japan and joining their teams. Pro soccer’s J. League begins its season in February, while Nippon Professional Baseball’s spring camps open on Feb. 1.

Entry exemptions had been suspended for athletes coming from some areas that had imposed stricter border controls where new mutated variants of the coronavirus had been discovered.

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