Japan permits “huge” abroad guests to Tokyo Video games: Nikkei

© Reuters. The giant Olympic rings will be lit after they were reinstalled at Odaiba Marine Park amid the coronavirus disease (COVID 19) outbreak in Tokyo

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan plans to enable “big” overseas visitors to attend the Tokyo Olympics next year without mandatory vaccinations or quarantine, provided they submit negative COVID-19 test results and download tracking apps, the business newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The report, which did not provide the source of information or details of the number of visitors, also stated that Japan would not prevent tourists from using public transport systems.

Under the current restrictions to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, travelers are required to self-isolate and sign up for contact tracking apps for 14 days upon arrival.

The Tokyo organizers were not immediately available for comment when contacted by Reuters.

The organizers of the games, which were pushed back by a year in March due to the pandemic, had sold nearly 1 million tickets overseas, compared to 4.5 million in Japan, according to the newspaper.

Last month, senior representative of the International Olympic Committee, John Coates, said the number of athletes participating in the Games would not be reduced and it was up to the organizers to make them feel safe.

Over 11,000 athletes are expected in Tokyo for the Olympic Games, and thousands more are expected to attend the Paralympics that follow.

The plan to allow large numbers of overseas visitors would underscore Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s promise to revitalize Japan’s troubled economy by boosting tourism – a pillar of the country’s economic policies, which his predecessor also supported.

Suga has been promoting domestic travel campaigns despite an increase in novel coronavirus infections that are quickly filling hospital beds.

The surge has hurt Suga’s approval rating, and many say his reluctance to curb domestic travel contributed to the surge in infections.

Japan has avoided the high number of infections and deaths from the virus in Europe and the United States, but with the cold season approaching, the country has seen a record number of daily cases in recent weeks.

The Nikkei report caused a strong reaction online. Some said the government was putting people’s lives at risk.

“I wonder why the government wants to hold the games in this situation. You must be crazy,” tweeted a social media user with the handle @ nuna-13. “Are you going to kill Japanese citizens?”

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