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Japan mulls exempting Olympic, Paralympic fans from abroad from 14-day quarantine

The Japan National Stadium, which will serve as the main stadium for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, is seen from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter in the capital's Shinjuku Ward in this Jan. 5, 2020 photo. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- The Japanese government is considering exempting spectators of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games from overseas from a 14-day quarantine period upon their arrival in Japan next summer, easing measures normally required to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

    The government made the proposal at a meeting for coordinating novel coronavirus countermeasures held at the prime minister's office in Tokyo on Nov. 12. The meeting was attended by officials from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and other parties.

    While those entering Japan from overseas are currently generally required to undergo 14 days of quarantine as part of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the government is looking into relaxing the policy for Tokyo Games spectators from abroad. The government will finalize specific measures to ease the regulations by spring 2021 in light of infection statuses both at home and overseas.

    If Olympic and Paralympic fans from abroad are required to quarantine themselves and refrain from using public transport systems for two weeks, it would effectively become difficult for them to watch games at venues in Tokyo and other prefectures. For this reason, the government will look into relaxing the requirements on condition that spectators entering Japan are tested for the coronavirus before leaving their home countries and regions and upon arrival in Japan, and that they manage their own health and behavior during their stay here.

    Since October, the exemption of 14-day quarantine has been applied to Japanese athletes upon their return to Japan from international competitions and other events abroad, as long as they are designated as athletes under the Japan Olympic Committee's performance enhancement program. At the Nov. 12 meeting, it was reported that such a measure would be extended to cover foreign athletes who will participate in international competitions held in Japan, even before the Tokyo Games are ushered in.

    (Japanese original by Akira Matsumoto, Sports News Department)

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