Japan’s government has eased its 10,000-spectator attendance limit for large-scale events, such as professional sports games and concerts.

This was in place in 27 of the country’s 47 prefectures, as part of its bid to restore social and economic activities amid a steady decline in coronavirus cases.

Events held across Japan can now have 5,000 spectators or 50% of venue capacity – whichever is larger – with large scale event spaces allowed to accept more than 10,000 spectators in Tokyo and other regions that were under a state of emergency through September.

Meanwhile, events that will see spectators shouting and cheering will also be capped at 50% of capacity. Prefectural governors can also implement their own policies on spectator limits depending on the situation of infections in their areas.

“We will continue to work hard to prevent infections so our guests can feel at ease,” commented the Senior Official of the All Japan Concert and Live Entertainment Promoters Conference.

The government claims that whether an event is likely to involve shouting by spectators will be decided on a case by case basis. It also fully lifted a coronavirus state of emergency and quasi-state of emergency on 1 October following a decline in COVID cases. 

However, the areas that were under the measures had to limit attendance to a maximum of 10,000 for about a month as the government gradually lifted restrictions.

On Monday, coronavirus restrictions on eateries were lifted in Okinawa, which was the final prefecture to do so since the state of emergency ended a month ago.

Restaurants and bars in Okinawa are no longer subject to restraints on the serving of alcohol and operating hours. But the prefectural government is asking people to eat out or drink ‘in groups of up to four people and limit their time’ at the establishments.

Japan saw record numbers of coronavirus cases during this summer’s fifth wave of infections. The Tokyo Olympics were held without spectators at most venues in order to prevent the spread of infections.

However, the event did prove to be a huge success for sports broadcasters, as the BBC reported ‘record breaking’ viewing figures.

BBC Sport’s coverage received 104 million requests to watch Tokyo 2020 online, exceeding the 74.4 million requests during Rio 2016.

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