2020 Summer Olympics

The Tokyo Olympics Will Happen – Without Foreign Spectators

Written by Charlie

The Tokyo Olympics will go on as planned but that will not include welcoming the millions of foreign spectators who had initially planned on attending.

There has been a lot of speculation over the last many months as to whether there would even be a Tokyo Olympics this summer. I, for one, figured that there would but that they would restrict the amount of spectators that would be in attendance. Well, now officials have spoken and this is what is happening.

The Tokyo Olympics Will Not Have Foreign Spectators

Those who have qualified to participate in the Tokyo Olympics will be welcome (and this is the guide for those entering Japan for the Olympics) but no overseas (in other words, foreigners) spectators will be allowed to attend.

Not only that, but the opening ceremony, often one of the hottest and most watched events of the Olympic period, will also be held without spectators.

This information is via the Kyodo news agency who had referenced word from the officials. In April, the Japanese committee will decide on the number of people that will be allowed into the venues. This decision to not allow foreigners to visit Japan for the Olympics is something that was overwhelmingly something that the Japanese people desired, with a survey saying 77% were against foreign spectators being allowed to attend.

Some of the links on Running with Miles are affiliate links that pay a commission if a purchase is made. Running with Miles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • Curious as to why they didn’t consider allowing visitors that are fully vaccinated. If the games are in danger of losing money, allowing visitors that will spend money and are fully vaccinated is a way to help bring tourist dollars to Japan.

    • The vaccination certificate system is still so nascent that it would likely take too long to get a handle on how it would all work and the protocols for people to then plan at the last minute. I mean, so many countries are still just trying to get an international certificate to be created and that is still a bit off!
      But, you are right that it would have helped Japan, if it could have been pulled off.

  • As stated in the Kyodo article, this is an informal decision. Seems like Japanese media is trying to influence the government and IOC not to welcome foreign spectators. I wish you had written this blog post referencing an official statement from the IOC.

    • This is how it has been going – officials speak about these proceedings and within a couple/few weeks, the IOC puts out the official statement. This has been their flow of information since last April when things first started looking like it would not happen then. Given that this is Japan, if things are getting out about it, it is because the Japanese officials want it to.
      I also have some friends on the teams that have been getting word on who can go/who can’t. It is pretty much a sure thing at this point. Japan is fine with it since they would rather have it than not at all, even if these lose billions by not having tourists.

  • Japan being Japan. If COVID is such a threat, doesn’t it make sense to ban both foreign and domestic spectators? Yes, COVID variants, but Japan has thousands of old-fashioned COVID infections already and those are almost exactly as bad. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

    I feel like they can’t wait to repurpose some of those coveted “foreigner seats” into seats for locals (albeit in restricted numbers). After all, the clean, rule-abiding Japanese won’t wear their masks under their noses and won’t spit all over the stands in front while chanting “U-S-A! U-S-A!” It’s that same old attitude towards foreigners that’s existed for thousands of years.