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North Korea has become the first country to pull out of the Tokyo Olympics, citing COVID-19 fears

Summary List PlacementNorth 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 rescheduled Tokyo Games, which was postponed...

North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un

Summary List Placement

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 rescheduled Tokyo Games, which was postponed from 2020 because of 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 that North Korea had 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 spectators would be allowed to attend the games.

The event is due to begin July 23.

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