The International Olympic Committee on Tuesday decided to redistribute slots for the Tokyo Olympics that were being held for North Korea, in a move that effectively finalized the Asian country's absence from the upcoming games.

Although North Korea's Olympic committee has not informed the IOC of its intentions, the country's sports ministry said in April that Pyongyang would not participate in the Summer Games to protect its athletes from the novel coronavirus.

Kim Jong Un (R) and Jo Yong Won (C) are pictured in February 2021. (KCNA/Kyodo)

It will be the first time for North Korea to skip the summer Olympics since the Seoul Games in 1988. The reclusive country did not take part in the Tokyo Olympics in 1964 either.

An IOC official speaking at a press conference explained the need to finalize the allocation of slots to ensure fairness as there are athletes waiting for information about participating in the games.

The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to be held from July 23 to Aug. 8.