North Korea Withdraw From Japan 2020
Kim Jong Un regime becomes first country to bow out of Summer Olympics starting in July
North Korea became the first country to withdraw from the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, citing safety concerns because of the coronavirus pandemic and dashing hopes that the global sporting event could provide a forum to engage the regime.
The decision by North Korea’s Olympic Committee reflected a desire “to protect players from the world public health crisis caused by Covid-19,” according to a Monday report, carried on the website of the state-run “Sports in the DPR Korea” outlet. The official name of North Korea, led by Kim Jong Un, is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The Tokyo Games, already delayed a year by the pandemic, are slated to begin in July. Japanese officials have expressed confidence in safeguards to protect the Summer Olympics from outbreaks, including blocking overseas spectators from attending. But before North Korea, no other country had publicly stated plans to skip the event.
In a statement, the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee said the International Olympic Committee handles invitations to the Games for each country. “We will continue to prepare the best possible stage to welcome athletes from all countries and regions,” it said.