U.S. warns Americans not to travel to Japan, but Japan says that won't affect the Summer Olympics

Tokyo Olympics
(Image credit: Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images)

The State Department on Monday warned Americas, "Do not travel to Japan due to COVID-19." The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautioned that "because of the current situation in Japan, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and should avoid all travel to Japan." The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee said it still plans to send a delegation of athletes to this summer's Olympic Games in Tokyo, and Japan said the U.S. warning won't affect the Games.

"We feel confident that the current mitigation practices in place for athletes and staff," coupled with the frequent testing, "will allow for safe participation of Team USA athletes this summer," the U.S. committee said in a statement. Japanese Olympic Minister Tamayo Marukawa said Tuesday that "for now, we don't expect any impact" from the State Department's warning.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told a news conference Tuesday that Washington has told Tokyo the travel warning doesn't affect the Olympians, and "we believe there is no change to the U.S. position supporting the Japanese government's determination to achieve the Games."

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The Summer Olympics are scheduled to start July 23, though public and medical opinion in Japan has turned sharply against holding the quadrennial Games as COVID-19 cases surge in the country. Japan decided months ago to ban foreign spectators from attending the Games in person, but tens of thousands of Olympic participants, their family members, sporting official and judges, and other essential Olympics personnel are still scheduled to pour into the country. Japan's own COVID-19 vaccination campaign lags behind other developed nations, but the International Olympic Committee will reportedly provide vaccines for 20,000 participates in the Tokyo games.

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at TheWeek.com, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.