James Matsumoto/SOPA Images/ZUMA

The coronavirus is a rapidly developing news story, so some of the content in this article might be out of date. Check out our most recent coverage of the coronavirus crisis, and subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

Today, Japanese officials confirmed that outside spectators won’t be able to turn up to watch the world’s biggest sporting event this year. Seiko Hashimoto, the president of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, called it “an unavoidable decision.”

“Currently, the COVID-19 situation in Japan and many other countries around the world is still very challenging and a number of variant strains have emerged, whilst international travel remains severely restricted globally,” read a statement released by top organizers on Saturday. “Based on the present situation of the pandemic, it is highly unlikely that entry into Japan will be guaranteed this summer for people from overseas.”

The 2020 Summer Olympics were meant to be convened last year, of course—it’s right there in the name. And you know the rest of that story: The pandemic got in the way, and the games were left in disarray.  Organizers are now forging ahead with plans to hold it this July, open to local (inoculated) sports fans following strict protocols. They now need to sort out how to refund tickets snapped up by masses of overseas spectators, according to the New York Times:

Overseas buyers purchased 600,000 tickets to Olympic events, as well as 30,000 tickets to the Paralympic Games starting in August, organizers said. The Paralympics will also bar spectators from abroad. In bidding for the Games, the Tokyo organizers said that 7.8 million tickets would be made available. Typically, about 10 to 20 percent of Olympic tickets go to international spectators.

The idea of holding the Games at all this year remains deeply unpopular amongst the Japanese public, according to the Times: Nearly 80 percent want them canceled or postponed.

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate