US health officials and the State Department on May 24 warned Americans against travel to Japan because of a surge in coronavirus cases in the country, which is preparing to host the Olympics in just two months.
“Travelers should avoid all travel to Japan,” the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in the new guidance. “Because of the current situation in Japan, even fully vaccinated travellers may be at risk for getting and spreading Covid-19 variants and should avoid all travel to Japan.”
The US Olympic & Paralympic Committee, which oversees Team USA, said in a statement to media that it has been made aware of the updated State Department advisory as it relates to Japan.
“We feel confident that the current mitigation practices in place for athletes and staff by both the USOPC and the Tokyo Organizing Committee, coupled with the testing before travel, on arrival in Japan, and during Games time, will allow for safe participation of Team USA athletes this summer,” the statement said.
Even after the backlash, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is determined to hold the Olympics in Tokyo beginning on July 23, after a one-year delay, and has made an ambitious pledge to finish vaccinating the country’s 36 million older people by the end of July.