Japan to lift 10,000-person cap for major events from November 1 as virus cases drop

Japan on Thursday decided to lift the 10,000-person cap at large-scale events on November 1, as new cases of COVID-19 decline steadily across the country, a government official said.

In late September, when the previous state of emergency was lifted, the government imposed a ceiling of 10,000 people at major sites in 27 prefectures, including Tokyo, as a one-month transitional measure. From November, venues designed for events with a capacity greater than 10,000 – such as sports games and concerts – may allow 50% of the maximum capacity to attend.

This means that a baseball stadium with a capacity of 40,000 people, for example, can accommodate up to 20,000 fans.

During this time, sites with a capacity of 10,000 people or less will not be affected by the latest decision. These facilities will be limited to 5,000 spectators or 50% of the venue capacity, whichever is greater, meaning that a facility with a capacity of 8,000 can accommodate a maximum of 5,000 spectators, and only 4,000 for events where spectators tend to shout.

Some local governments may bypass the lifting of the large event cap and impose their own restrictions, such as capping all event crowds at 10,000.

The central government is currently conducting demonstration experiments involving crowds with vaccine certificates or negative test results, with the aim of further relaxing event restrictions. They aim to present plans to ease restrictions on events and gatherings where meals are served in early November at the earliest.

“We will examine the restrictions, based on the results of the demonstrative experiments,” Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihiko Isozaki told a press conference on Thursday.

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