Japan’s government sanctioned events with up to 5,000 people indoors, which could lead to a return of concerts and other large-scale live events in the country. The cap moves up from 1,000, as of this past Friday (July 10). Capacity remains capped at 50% of the venue maximum, meaning spaces that normally hold less than 10,000 will be capped below the 5,000 maximum.
Reopening plans in the island nation continued despite a recent uptick in case numbers. After seeing fewer than 100 daily positive test results logged from May 13 to June 26, the country has seen an average of 283 positive results over the trailing seven days. But compared to many other countries of its size, Japan has fared extraordinarily well, with fewer than 1,000 deaths linked to the coronavirus thus far. Plans are to lift the cap on event attendance entirely next month should things continue to progress as planned.
“It’s our common recognition that the situation is different from that in early April when the state of emergency was declared” first for Tokyo and other urban areas, economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said at a news conference last week after the meeting. The emergency was later expanded to the entire nation. It was subsequently lifted in May.
Professional sports events have already been occuring in Japan, albeit without fans in attendance. Friday saw fans allowed back in, with hopes that stadiums would be up to 50% capacity by August 1st after a gradual increase.
“I think starting with 5,000 spectators is a good idea,” said Hidetoshi Yuasa, who attended Friday’s game between the Lotte Marines and the Seibu Lions, played on the outskirts of Tokyo in suburban Chiba prefecture.
“If the situation gets worse because of this, then we have no choice but to go back as before. I think it’s a good idea to try it like this,” he added.