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“Tighten entry restrictions based on situation” says Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato on travel ban imposed ahead of Tokyo Olympics

The President of the Indian Olympic Association assured that the Indian Contingent for Tokyo Olympics shall not face any difficulties

Tokyo Olympics

“Tighten and ease entry restrictions depending on the situation” said the Japanese chief cabinet secretary Katsunobu Kato on imposing travel ban from which came into effect on Friday, with Tokyo Olympics 2021 being only months away.

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The second wave of COVID-19 is a new mutated variant from the previous one which is presently spreading across India and Lakhs of people being victimized to the deadly virus. In this situation the Japan government which is already aggrieved with the death tolls resulting from the novel coronavirus has taken precautionary measures of imposing travel ban for people from India, Pakistan and Nepal to avoid the new variant from entering the Japanese nation.

So there arose questions of whether the Indian contingent who are to travel to Japan for participating in Tokyo Olympics which is to start from July 23 would be restricted as a result of the Travel ban imposed by the Japanese government on Friday.

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Katsunobu Kato, the Nation’s chief Cabinent secretary said that they will “tighten and ease entry restrictions depending on the situation” when he was questioned as to the effect of travel ban on the Indian athletes who are about to participate in the upcoming Olympics:

“This ban is for general public coming from India, Pakistan or Nepal. For athletes participating in the Olympics, there are sufficient guarantees taken by the IOC (International Olympic Committee) from the host nation that they cannot bar any country from entering. There cannot be separate country-specific rules,” said the Japanese chief Cabinent secretary as quoted by Hindustan Times.

Indian Contingent for Tokyo Olympics shall not face any difficulties

Indian Shooters

“As such, all accredited athletes, coaches and officials from India will not face any trouble in entering Japan, be rest assured. We will only have to follow the standard protocols that have been put in place, like taking the mandatory RT-PCR tests before flying,” said the IOA president Narinder Batra.

Further there were questions raised whether there would be any necessity for the Indian contingent to travel from any other country to Tokyo as the ban to travel from India extended by the government, Batra said, “That is only if a situation arises where they (the Japan government) say you cannot travel from India. That won’t be the case. However, every country has a back-up plan and we will have one too. In any case, some of our athletes are already training abroad, so they will fly directly to Tokyo.”

But one can’t ignore the present situation lurking in Japan as on May 13, 2021 the World Health Organization official website shows the country reporting 6,927 positive which shows sharp spike in cases from the previous 2,500 exactly a month ago. So there has been a strong voice of opposition against the staging of the World’s historic sport event in Tokyo with the circumstances worsening and the country is no longer having the luxury to host such sport event with lives of the people at stake.

“We are not in that situation and therefore the Games should be cancelled,” Utsunomiya told a news conference. “Precious medical resources would need to be diverted to the Olympics if it’s held.”

Followingly there has been an online petition “Cancel the Tokyo Olympics to protect our lives” for cancelling the Tokyo Olympics 2021, which has been signed by more than 3,50,000 people of the country. Also there has been a “Stop Tokyo Olympics” campaign initiated and drafted by a prominent Japanese Lawyer Kenji Utsunomiya, and it was subsequently submitted to the local organizing committee and the International Olympic Committee.

Avoid Confusions, says IOA President Narinder Batra

Tokyo Olympics

In these difficult situations, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Dhruv Batra, has assured that Tokyo Olympics-2021 will definitely happen and thereby avoid confusions prevailing among the athletes and the fans.

“I would not like to comment on any country-specific issues; those are their personal and political issues. But as far as I know, the Olympics are happening. I would like to put that straight to our athletes,” said Batra.

“Look, the facilities in India are good enough to train,” said Batra. “So saying that I couldn’t train properly because I couldn’t go abroad would be unfair to the facilities provided in our country. We have provided all possible support to our athletes—be it assisting in building a shooting range inside personal houses to sending the archers to Pune to train. The hockey teams too have been training in Bengaluru. Yes, travelling abroad might be an issue right now, but the rules apply to many other countries and not just India.”

The Indian Olympic Association president has also informed that the Indian contingent to Tokyo consisting of 200 Tokyo-bound Indian athletes, including the paralympians, and 90-odd officials have so far received their first vaccination dose. “About 18 athletes have got their second jabs as well,” he said.

One can only hope that the Olympic event, which is much awaited by the aspiring athletes to showcase the results of their years of hard work and determination on the International stage and also the eagerness of the Sport fans to witness and cherish the success of their Olympic heroes, shall no more be postponed and cancelled.

Also read: “Overseas Olympics athletes cannot be prioritized”- Japanese towns reject to host foreign athletes

Pozhilan is a cricket content intern at Firstsportz. He loves to write about Cricket and follows all happenings around the world in cricket closely.