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Japan looking to halve number of official travellers to Games: Kyodo

FILE PHOTO: Olympic rings are seen near the National Stadium in Tokyo

(Reuters) – Japan’s government will begin talks soon on potentially halving the number of official travellers to the country for this year’s Olympics to around 30,000 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Kyodo news agency reported on Friday.

Citing a source with knowledge of the matter, the report added that the government aims to cut the number of visitors who are not directly related to competition.

Around 90,000 people are expected to enter the country from overseas for the delayed Games, including about 30,000 athletes, coaches and team members.

The report added that talks are expected to begin shortly with the affected organisations.

Olympic organisers said on Monday that Japan would not allow in volunteers from overseas except for those deemed essential, amid public concerns over the novel coronavirus.

Athletes’ families are also likely to be barred although organisers have yet to make a decision, Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto told a news conference.

Foreign spectators will not be allowed during the Games and organisers will refund some 600,000 Olympic tickets and another 30,000 Paralympic tickets purchased by overseas residents.

The Games are scheduled to begin on July 23.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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