2020 Olympic Hosts Japan Will Close Borders on Monday to Most Foreign Nationals

Japan, the host country of the Tokyo2020 Olympic Games next summer, has closed its borders to most foreign nationals after 5 new cases of the new UK-based coronavirus variant were detected in the country. The Japanese closure takes effect on December 28.

The variant, known as B.1.1.7, has set off alarm bells around the world after first being detected in the United Kingdom after scientists said that it could possibly spread more rapidly than other variants of the virus that has ground the world to a halt over the last year.

While the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines are expected to be effective against this new strain, countries around the world have raced to delay the spread of B.1.1.7 by re-closing their borders. Much of the world has now closed borders, or announced that they will close borders, to travelers from the UK, where the variant was first detected.

In lockstep with these new closures, Japan has suspended general ticket sales for the upcoming Emperor’s Cup soccer match that is scheduled for January 1, 2021 amid a rise in coronavirus cases. The event is significant to the Olympic movement because it is the official football (soccer) test event for the upcoming Olympic Games. The semi-final matches on Sunday and the finals next week are being held at the 60,000+ Olympic Stadium that was built to host the opening and closing ceremonies and track & field events at the Tokyo2020 Olympic Games, along with portions of events in other sports.

Tickets already sold for the event will still be valid, with 16,000 reportedly sold. Spectator numbers for sporting events in Japan will be capped at 5,000 for venues with capacities greater than 10,000.

Japan, due to its geographic proximity to China where the first outbreaks of the novel coronavirus were found, closed its borders and enacted strict measures early on to try and control the spread of the virus.

In spite of an aging population, Japan’s per capita death rate and infection rate from the coronavirus is one of the lowest in the developed world. The country has reported just over 213,000 case of coronavirus leading to 3,155 deaths across a population of 126.5 million people.

The country has reported about 1,691 cases per 1 million population and 25 deaths per 1 million population. That’s as compared to rates of 58,274-per-million infections and 1,023-per-million deaths in the United States, which has the highest-reported infection rates in the world among countries with a population greater than 11 million people.

The Toky 2020 Olympic Games are scheduled to take place from July 23-August 8, 2021. IOC president Thomas Bach said earlier this month that he was ‘very confident’ that the Olympics would go on in 2021. Upcoming test events after the Emperor’s Cup are the Boccia operational test from February 29-March 1, the Sport Climbing test event from March 6-8, and the artistic swimming test event at the Tokyo Aquatics Center from March 4-7.

Other aquatics test events are scheduled for April, including water polo from April 10-11, diving from April 18-23, and pool swimming from April 24-25. The Marathon Swimming test event was held in August of 2019.

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Clownley Honks
28 days ago

Now I’m waiting for liberals to start praising closed borders

Applesandoranges
Reply to  Clownley Honks
28 days ago

Nah, you’ll get a bigger discussion about USRPT or Lochte’s chances about making the Olympic team, than closed borders at this point.

torchbearer
Reply to  Clownley Honks
28 days ago

This is not a political issue- just a health one.

Michael Andrew Wilson
Reply to  Clownley Honks
28 days ago

330,000 deaths in the United States is not real praiseworthy.

THANH PANG
Reply to  Clownley Honks
28 days ago

Japanese Gov and people are very strict when it comes to protecting their own people, not like
In USA , where we play drama with fire and death. When it comes to protecting and save lives , your politics, ideology or mindset won’t
Help you out. I am sure those who losted a family member or work day and night to combat this virus would be saying the otherwise. People who mostly express their trumpism on internet towards their fellow Americans by using this virus as talking point, are those who haven’t been affected in anywhere and selfish.

Swammer12
Reply to  THANH PANG
28 days ago

Enough with the bashing of the U.S.A we know you are jealous. You sound sad.

SwimFani
Reply to  THANH PANG
27 days ago

I losted a family member. My gamma Nonie was 93 years old. She was an amazing person, from Russia and always the life of the party. She died of Covid-19, but also had heart disease, cancer, hemorrhoids, was blind and due to 4 strokes was paralyzed. She proudly voted for and supported President Trump until her last breath.

DrSwimPhil
28 days ago

Ugh, yet again virus gonna virus (they all mutate, and almost every one becomes less severe in its mutation…early actual science indicates the same thing here), and yet…governments still keep doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.

Troll Longhorn
Reply to  DrSwimPhil
28 days ago

Yep, not looking good for the games if the host country is overreacting like this

Swimmer A
Reply to  DrSwimPhil
28 days ago

The virus is at its worst since the pandemic began, so this decision makes sense. If it gets better then open back up. It’s seems pretty straight forward.

DrSwimPhil
Reply to  Swimmer A
28 days ago

Is it, though? Define “at its worst”. And if so, then apparently all of these government interventions a) haven’t worked, and could theoretically be argued that b) they’re making things “worse”.

And to use “this virus is mutating” as a way for the governments/media to portray more negative connotations is antithetical messaging to how biology/science actually works. Although, that seems to be par for the course, so it’s unfortunately not shocking.

Last edited 28 days ago by DrSwimPhil
twiztereducation
Reply to  DrSwimPhil
28 days ago

I must not be reading the right blogs, because you seem very confident in what you’ve written, but it all comes across as gibberish to me.

What are the positive connotations of a global pandemic that has killed 1.8 million people around the world?

The virus is at its worst in the United States, where at worst there are no restrictions and at best they are being largely ignored. Countries where they’re being enforced and where the population cares enough about their fellow citizens to not want them dead (Italy, Australia) are not at their worst.

Mike
Reply to  twiztereducation
28 days ago

Why don’t we fine fat people? They’re a drain on the healthcare system. And they’re totally responsible for their situation. The selfishness they show is sickening.

twiztereducation
Reply to  Mike
28 days ago

What an awful rhetoric technique. Just throw everything you’ve got at the wall and hope it sticks.

What does that response have to do with this thread?

Last edited 28 days ago by twiztereducation
SwimFani
Reply to  Mike
27 days ago

Mike take heart as most logical and intelligent people will agree with your position. However, we must also include the oldest segment of our population. If we cancel Medicare and Medicaid we rid our society of a huge drain. Given the sensibilities of the Great Reset, Blue Wave, BLM, Antifa and the Democratic Party we will once again become a great nation and leading world power again! Heil Biden.

Swim&Polo Dad
Reply to  Mike
26 days ago

Really hesitant to reply and posting without comment, but I read today that people with comorbidities will be at the head of the line for the vaccine, and that list included the obese. Mixed emotions on that decision, for sure.

DrSwimPhil
Reply to  twiztereducation
27 days ago

To say “this virus is mutating, it’s going to get worse” is nothing more than government/media messaging of more negative connotations that frankly are anti-science. Without understanding testing frequency now vs earlier in the year, to say “it’s worse now” isn’t a proper comparison. To see over and over that general locales rise and fall in unison, regardless of mitigation strategies (see the Dakotas in November/December, or FL/TX/AZ/CA in July, or European countries close to each other at any given point in time, etc) and disregard that data is at best cognitive dissonance. Hell, to see what California is attempting to do right now relative to the data flies in the face of logic. And to boil this down to… Read more »

Irish Ringer
Reply to  DrSwimPhil
27 days ago

The Dr. makes a good point and CA is a prime example. Strictest lockdowns around and infections going through the roof.

Swimmer A
Reply to  DrSwimPhil
28 days ago

Just a quick look at the worldometer stats page shows the highest daily case rates and daily death rates in Japan, as well as most other countries. When you shut things down the rates go down, when you open back up the rates go up. This will continue until the vaccine is readily available and we achieve heard immunity.

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/japan/

DrSwimPhil
Reply to  Swimmer A
27 days ago

Or if you can time out the shutdowns, it makes you look like a genius (while nature is doing nature things)….note France vs UK’s “shutdown” dates. Or again…see what’s happening in California.

Swimmer A
Reply to  DrSwimPhil
27 days ago

The shutdowns aren’t meant to end the pandemic, just slow the spread when things get out of control.

DrSwimPhil
Reply to  Swimmer A
26 days ago

And yet, despite the fear mongering, we haven’t actually had overwhelmed/overflowed (especially when taking into account year-to-year comparisons) hospitalizations. We’re on almost Day 300 of “15 days to flatten the curve”. In which the seasonality and nature have a significantly larger “control” of the virus than humans every could’ve hoped to have had.

Xman
28 days ago

In 1980 did they host the Olympic trials after the Olympics got cancelled?

I wonder if that’s what’s going to happen this year – they just have a national championship with semi finals at IUPUI inviting top 24 or so and just call it the 2020/2021 Olympic Team.

Hawaiian Reeves
Reply to  Xman
28 days ago

The Olympics were not cancelled in 1980. More countries attended than boycotted. Japan joined the boycott on May 24, 1980.

Troll Longhorn
Reply to  Xman
28 days ago

At this point just do a virtual olympics because it’s not going to happen in Japan.

SwimFani
Reply to  Troll Longhorn
27 days ago

Correct no-one in their right mind will go to Japan for the Olympics – they are too close to China too!

swimfast
Reply to  Xman
28 days ago

great point. when you think about it, to be an olympian you are our national champion or runner up in an olympic year. to go to the olympics isn’t necessarily necessary

Last edited 28 days ago by swimfast
Gerry Willwerth
Reply to  Xman
28 days ago

The 1980 Games were not cancelled, just boycotted by certain nations (including the US) protesting Soviet military involvement in Afghanistan. Most all of the American sports federations went ahead and selected teams, even after President Carter announced our non-participation.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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