North Korea thus becomes the first country to miss the exposed games in Japan due to fears of the spread of infection.
The decision to say no to Olympic participation appears on a website run by the North Korean Ministry of Sports. It states that the country will not participate in the 32nd Olympic Games “to protect the participants from the global health crisis caused by covid-19”.
The Olympic Games start in Tokyo on July 23, one year late due to the corona pandemic. The organizers have worked hard to establish infection control measures that will provide the necessary security around the event.
Prohibition of foreign spectators is one of the measures taken.
No official announcement
The Japanese Olympic organizers responded to the news of North Korea’s absence with a short statement.
“We continue to prepare the games by working closely with relevant organizations, so that athletes from each country and region can show their best performance,” it says.
At the same time, the Olympic Committee in the country states that so far there has been no official message from North Korea that the country is absent from the Games.
The South Korean government, for its part, regrets North Korea’s decision not to participate. A statement said the Summer Games had hoped to use the Games to take the peace process and cooperation on the Korean Peninsula a step further.
No reported cases
South Korea and North Korea used the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang to get closer to each other despite political challenges. North Korea sent 22 athletes, including a women’s ice hockey team, to the Games in the neighboring country three years ago.
Journalists, artists and government representatives were also part of the delegation.
Despite the Tokyo organizers’ work with strict infection control measures, there is still concern that the upcoming summer games may contribute to the further spread of the coronavirus. The infection rates in Japan, combined with a time-consuming vaccination process, contribute to this.
North Korea is one of the few countries that has not reported any cases of infection during the pandemic, but observers assume that the virus has also spread there.
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