North Korea has dropped out of the Tokyo Olympics due to coronavirus concerns.
North Korea’s Olympic committee decided late last month not to participate, but has yet to notify organizers, The Associated Press reported.
North Korea is the first country to drop out of the Games, which were supposed to occur last summer but were postponed due to the virus.
Japan is taking precautions against the virus, such as banning international spectators, but many are concerned they won’t be enough. Tokyo dropped its state of emergency last month, but still has many restrictions in place to prevent another spike in cases.
Although Japan is encouraging athletes to be vaccinated, many countries are struggling with slow rollouts that limit the ability of some athletes to get inoculated.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry said officials are hopeful that North Korea changes its mind, as the Games were seen as an opportunity to improve the relationship between the two countries, the AP noted on Tuesday.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga had previously said that he was open to meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnBiden should look to ‘Ostpolitik’ to negotiate with autocrats Overnight Defense: Pentagon asked for third base to house migrant children | Pompeo has regrets on North Korea Pompeo ‘regrets’ not making more progress with North Korea MORE during the Games.
It is difficult to determine how many coronavirus cases North Korea has had due to its lack of reporting.