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Japan wants foreign dignitaries to avoid meeting athletes, Motegi says

Motegi, Japan’s foreign minister listens to a question at a press conference held today at the foreign ministry in Tokyo. (ANJ Photo)
Motegi, Japan’s foreign minister listens to a question at a press conference held today at the foreign ministry in Tokyo. (ANJ Photo)
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25 May 2021 08:05:56 GMT9
25 May 2021 08:05:56 GMT9

Khaldon Azhari

TOKYO: Japan will ask foreign dignitaries, including heads of states who plan to attend the Olympics, to refrain from meeting their national athletes, foreign minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu said on Tuesday. 

“The restricting of contact with athletes has been explained to the embassies here in Tokyo,” Motegi told Arab News Japan. “It goes with our efforts to prevent the spread of infection and to control the pandemic.”

Diplomatic sources in Tokyo told Arab News Japan that some high-ranking dignitaries canceled planned visits to Japan due to entry restrictions that include “long” waiting times at airports. 

Last month, the IOC and the Olympic Games Organizing Committee published their playbook for the Games. The playbook said that in order to prevent infections among athletes, people should restrict places where they may visit and advised making contact with others as little as possible. 

“The government of Japan’s position is based on the playbook in regard to foreign dignitaries that may visit,” Motegi explained. “Of course, they would like to meet with their own country’s athletes to cheer them on and encourage them; that’s the reason they come to Japan. We understand this and the receiving of foreign dignitaries is an extremely important opportunity during the Olympic and Paralympics. But on this occasion, there must be thorough measures against infections and on that basis we would like to conduct the best possible diplomacy.”

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