June 9 (UPI) -- The International Olympic Committee has decided to reallocate North Korean spots at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics after the reclusive nation said it would not participate in the Summer Games.
James McLeod, the IOC's director of Olympic Solidarity, said the decision was made after Pyongyang provided no formal communication on the issue, Inside The Games reported Wednesday.
"The problem was they did not inform us officially," McLeod said. "We had a lot of ongoing discussions on reasons and to offer them as many assurances as possible."
The IOC could redistribute as many as 10 Olympic berths. The Olympic quota allocation system is designed to restrict the number of athletes in participation and prevent a small but powerful group of countries from dominating Olympic events. The IOC said quota places that were assigned to North Korea would go to the "next in line," according to the report.
The decision comes after North Korea on April 6 disclosed on its website Sports DPRK that it will not attend the Olympics because of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
North Korea's decision to skip the Games is the first time Pyongyang will not send athletes since the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics, when then-leader Kim Il Sung decided to boycott the Games.
North Korea had secured qualification in track-and-field, table tennis, wrestling, archery, swimming or diving, gymnastics, shooting and boxing, according to South Korean news service Newsis Wednesday.
The Tokyo Olympics has become a domestic flashpoint amid the pandemic and waning public support for the Games. The Japanese government also is more recently coming under criticism in neighboring South Korea, after the Tokyo Olympics website included a disputed South Korea-administered territory on a map of Japan.
South Korean politician Lee Jae-myung, governor of Gyeonggi Province, said Wednesday on Facebook that Korea should boycott the Olympics because Tokyo has not cooperated on requests for a correction, Asia Business reported.
Japan colonized the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945.