There is disappointment in store for those hoping to head to Tokyo for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, as it has been confirmed that overseas spectators will not be permitted to attend the Games due to the ongoing worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

Having been postponed from 2020, the Olympics is scheduled to begin on 23 July and the Paralympics on 24 August. Unfortunately for international ticket-holders, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee has concluded as 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, it is highly unlikely that entry into Japan will be guaranteed this summer for people from overseas.

David Weir of Great Britain celebrates winning the Men's 1500m T54 final at the London 2012 Paralympic Games
The 2020 Paralympic Games will go ahead without overseas spectators © Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Tickets purchased by overseas residents will now be refunded by the committee. They have made the decision to give clarity to ticket holders living overseas and to enable them to adjust their travel plans. The good news is that the Games are going ahead this year. While it hasn't happened in decades, the Summer Games were previously called off in 1916 during World War I, and the Summer and Winter Games were cancelled in 1940 and 1944 during World War II.

"In many ways the Tokyo 2020 Games will be completely different to any previous Games," said Tokyo 2020 president, Hashimoto Seiko, in a statement. She noted that the essence of the Games will remain unchanged, "as athletes give their utmost and inspire the world with transcendent performances. We are currently working on specific plans to share support remotely from around the world and help bring people together in ways suited to our current times. Even if you are no longer able to come to Japan this summer, we hope very much that you will continue to support the Tokyo 2020 Games."

This article was first published on March 13, 2020 and updated on March 22, 2021. 

You might also like:

Scenic treks through the sacred mountains of Japan’s Gifu and Ishikawa Prefectures
Do you need a visa to go to Japan?
Japan's stunning cherry blossoms are set to bloom early this year

This article was first published Mar 13, 2020 and updated Mar 22, 2021.

Explore related stories

September 2, 2016: Flames shooting from a mutant vehicle at Burning Man in the evening.


2023 bucket-list trips you should start planning now

Jan 2, 2023 • 12 min read