The Japanese government has opted to host this summer's Olympic and Paralympic Games without international spectators due to concerns over COVID-19.
Kyodo News Agency reported that the decision was made after concerns had been raised from the Japanese public about their safety following the emergence of variants of the coronavirus in different countries.
The opening ceremony is set to take place without any spectators in attendance.
"The organising committee has decided it is essential to hold the ceremony in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima behind closed doors, only permitting participants and invitees to take part in the event, to avoid large crowds forming amid the pandemic," Kyodo said, quoting the Tokyo 2020 officials.
A formal decision is due to be made by the end of the month, with Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto stating she would prefer the decision to have been made by March 25 when the torch relay is due to start.
The decision over the number of Japanese spectators allowed in venues is yet to have been decided, although the end of April is when this is expected.
A poll in the Yomiuri newspaper revealed that most Japanese residents do not want international visitors to attend the Games, with 77 per cent of respondents against slowing foreign spectators with only 18 per cent in favour.
Author: Jake Wilkin