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Japan to ease entry controls for athletes

(Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

Japan will lessen Covid-19 immigration curbs for athletes traveling to the country for competition or training in the run-up to next year’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, government sources said.

The Japanese government had originally considered lowering the controls just in time for the Games, but has decided to initiate the system earlier to help athletes prepare. Kyodo News reported that the new entry regime could be introduced as early as this week, after a government meeting on Thursday.

Athletes from countries and regions on which Japan currently enforces an entry ban will be allowed entry if they provide proof of having tested negative for Covid-19. All Athletes will have to monitor their health for 14 days before entering Japan and take virus tests upon their arrival. Their movements in Japan will be limited to certain locations, and they will be required to save their smartphone GPS data to aid in contact tracing. The same procedures will apply to Japanese athletes who return to the country from abroad.

IOC president Thomas Bach is expected to visit Japan from November 15-18 for the first time since the Tokyo Games were postponed in March.

According to NHK, Bach will meet with Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide and Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko, and attend a meeting with the Olympics organising committee.