— Published 25 May 2021

The U.S. State Department recommends to avoid Japan

Team USA

The timing is bad. While the countdown shows less than 60 days before the beginning of the Tokyo Games (D – 59 this Tuesday, May 25th), the U.S. State Department announced Monday, May 24th, that it placed Japan one notch higher on the scale of countries at risk because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been moved up to Category 4, which lists destinations to be avoided by US citizens. At the same time, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention rates Japan as having a “very high” level of coronavirus and recommends not to travel to the country. The State Department explains very officially “strongly recommending that American citizens reconsider all travels” to Japan. A threat to the participation of the American delegation for the Tokyo Games? At this stage, surely. Not surprisingly, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) did not let any doubt settle. It assured as early as Monday, May 24th, in a statement, “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.”