Japan is planning to exempt foreign visitors for next summer's Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics from its 14-day quarantine requirement if they are from countries or regions with relatively fewer novel coronavirus cases, a government panel said Thursday.

The government will decide by next spring whether to permit overseas spectators to attend the Summer Games, which have been postponed from this year due to the pandemic, the panel said.

If approved, they will also be allowed to use public transportation during their stay, it said.

The government plans to draw up guidelines for spectators that include requiring them to wear face masks, carry out thorough disinfection and banning them from talking too loudly.

It is looking at punitive measures for violations, such as denying entry or ejection from venues, the panel said.

Additionally, athletes and staff participating in international competitions or training camps in Japan prior to the games will be exempted from the quarantine period.

The exemption will not, however, be applied to torch relay runners coming from overseas, as they will be asked to abide by the government's entry regulations at the time of their arrival.

The panel also presented anti-pandemic guidelines for Japanese host towns, which will welcome athletes from abroad for camps and cultural exchanges in a first-of-its-kind program at the games.

It requested that host towns provide travel itineraries to keep track of athletes' whereabouts and has urged them to hold their exchange events after the games when athletes will be less restricted.

For para athletes, the panel said supporting staff and managers will be appointed to deal with infected athletes who need assistance or are at risk of having their symptoms become more severe.

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