Entry restrictions in Japan will reportedly be eased to allow athletes to compete or train in the country ahead of next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Travellers from more than 150 countries are barred from entering Japan in response to the spread of COVID-19.
But the Japanese Government are understood to be considering making a special allowance for athletes and staff from nations on the banned list – provided they issue proof of a negative coronavirus test result and take precautionary measures while in Japan.
In a report by Japanese news agency Kyodo News, Government sources claim overseas athletes will be able to take part in international competitions or training camps during a 14-day quarantine period in the country.
It is hoped that the relaxation of the rules will help competitors prepare for the Olympics which has been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Officials from Tokyo 2020 and Tokyo Metropolitan Government are expected to meet on Thursday (November 12) to discuss border control proposals.
If approved, Kyodo News understands the ban will be lifted that day.
To gain entry, athletes would need to be tested for COVID-19 before they leave and upon arrival in Japan, showing a negative result on both occasions.
Their movement in Japan is also expected to be restricted to competition and training venues and will be required to save their smartphone GPS data to aid contact tracing.
A coronavirus countermeasures taskforce, formed of officials from the Japanese Government, Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Tokyo 2020, was set up following the postponement of the Games and have been meeting regularly to draw up plans.
The Olympics has been rescheduled to July 23 to August 8 2021, followed by the Paralympics from August 24 to September 5.
Organisers have pledged to hold a simplified Games with a variety of cost-cutting measures due to be considered.
Since the outbreak of coronavirus, Japan has reported more than 105,000 cases and registered 1,809 deaths.