Tokyo organizers have blocked most of the volunteers abroad

Exceptions will be made for volunteers with expert and specialised knowledge about specific sports


Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshiro Muto said at a press conference.

Tokyo organizers block most foreign volunteers (AP)

Tokyo Olympic organizers said on Monday Japan would not allow overseas volunteers other than those considered important after it decided to block international viewers amid public concern over the novel coronavirus.

The families of the athletes could also be banned although the promoters still have to make a decision, Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshiro Muto said at a press conference.

"I'm really sorry, but we have decided there is no other choice but to drop the plan," said Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the organizing committee.

Muto said the decision of the volunteers was sad but the organizers wanted to make a decision now so there would be no confusion for those overseas people waiting for the decision.

It was not immediately clear how many exceptions would be granted. Kyodo News reported earlier that organisers might allow around 500 foreign volunteers into Japan under special entry rules.

Organizers said on Saturday they had decided not to allow outside spectators during the games and would return 600,000 Olympic tickets and another 30,000 Paralympic tickets purchased by overseas residents.

"So in view of that decision, we have also decided that we will not be able to allow volunteers from outside Japan to enter Japan this summer to participate in the Games," Muto said.

Muto added that the organizers still had to come to a conclusion about the families of the athletes but may have been treated in the same way as foreign observers.

More than 110,000 volunteers have laid down their lives in anticipation of word from Olympic organizers about their roles this summer.

Volunteers take care of everything from interpreting and directing people to touring around local administration. A rich part of Olympic culture, ranging from university students to retirees and from around the world.

Muto said something different would be done for volunteers with specialized knowledge of the sport and that these people would receive individual notifications.

It is not immediately clear how much will be released. Kyodo News previously reported that promoters could allow 500 foreign volunteers to enter Japan under special entry rules.