— Published 7 April 2021

Japan and the IOC await confirmation from North Korea

The decision of the North Korean authorities to renounce sending a delegation to the Tokyo Games because of the health risks left the Japanese organisers in shock. But the government of Yoshihide Suga approaches the subject with caution and reserve. The Minister of the Olympic Games, Tamayo Marukawa, explained Tuesday, April 6th, in a press conference, a few hours after the announcement of the renunciation of North Korea, that the government was trying to “confirm the details” of the information revealed by the official site from the North Korean Ministry of Sports. Japanese government spokesperson Katsunobu Kato said North Korea’s decision not to participate in the Tokyo Games “will not influence Japan’s efforts to repatriate its citizens abducted by North Korea in the 1970s. and 1980”. But according to a government official, North Korea’s renunciation is not all that surprising. According to this source, which remains anonymous, North Korean athletes would have had the greatest difficulty qualifying for the Games because they could not participate in the qualifying events, the authorities in Pyongyang not allowing their nationals to travel abroad. In Lausanne, the IOC explained on Tuesday, April 6th, that it had not yet received official notification from the North Korean Olympic Committee of its renunciation of the Tokyo Games.