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North Korea Pulls Out of Tokyo Olympics, Citing COVID-19 Fears

  • North Korea has announced its decision to pull out of the Tokyo Olympics.
  • It wants to protect its athletes from the “world public health crisis caused by COVID-19,” per the AP.
  • The Games are set to start July 23. Japan has already barred international visitors from attending.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

North Korea has announced its withdrawal from the Tokyo Olympics this year, saying it wants to protect its athletes from the “world public health crisis caused by COVID-19,” according to the Associated Press.

It is the first country to pull out of the Tokyo Games, which was postponed from 2020 to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision was said to be made on March 25, the BBC reported, citing a state-run news report.

Japan’s Olympic Committee said on Tuesday North Korea has not notified it about the withdrawal, according to the AP.

South Korea — which had hoped to use the games to improve its relationship with the North — also expressed regret over the decision.

Earlier this year Japan announced that no international visitors would be allowed to watch the games in person due to the public-health risk.

The event is due to begin in July 23.

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