Authorization

Japan to allow up to 5,000 spectators at sporting events

Japan on Friday started allowing up to 5,000 people to attend sporting and other events, despite a recent rise in the number of people infected with the novel coronavirus.
Japan's professional baseball and soccer leagues will begin admitting spectators to games in line with government guidelines that raised the cap on spectators from 1,000.
The evening's schedule features the Central League-leading Yomiuri Giants facing the Yakult Swallows among six Nippon Professional Baseball games, and a J.League second-division match between Fagiano Okayama and Giravanz Kitakyushu.
J.League first-division fans will get a chance to see their favorite clubs in action on the weekend.
The move comes as coronavirus infections are on the rise again in Japan, with Tokyo reporting a daily record of 243 people infected on Friday, leaving many people cautious of a second wave of infections in the capital. The nationwide tally now stands at over 20,700, excluding 712 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined near Tokyo in February.
Tokyo Gov Yuriko Koike said Thursday that the rising number of cases was a result of increased testing, while economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, also in charge of coronavirus response, stressed the country's medical system is not as strained as before, saying the situation is "different from when the state of emergency was declared in April."
The government has urged organizers to take measures to prevent the spread of the virus, including ventilating venues and creating a list of names of people coming in.
In welcoming fans back into stadiums, NPB and J.League teams will check the temperatures of spectators and require them to wear masks inside the stadiums. Clubs are also asking fans to refrain from traditional cheering practices thought to increase the risk of infection.
The number of spectators admitted to each game is currently limited to 5,000 people, with a plan to increase that amount to up to 50 percent of a venue's capacity on Aug 1, depending on the status of infections across the country.
The decision will be left up to each club, however, with the Nippon Ham Fighters in NPB's Pacific League already declaring they will stay with the 5,000 limit for their game against the Orix Buffaloes on Aug 1 at Sapporo Dome.
The 2020 NPB season began behind closed doors on June 19 after a three-month delay. The J.League first division resumed last week following a roughly four-month hiatus, after the J2 restarted and the J3 finally began on June 27.


© KYODO
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