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Japan to lift 10,000 person cap for large events from Nov. 1 as virus cases fall

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

At the end of September when the previous state of emergency was ended, the government imposed the 10,000 person cap on large venues in 27 prefectures including Tokyo, as a one-month transitional measure. From November, venues designed for events with a capacity over 10,000 — such as sports games and concerts — can allow 50% of the max capacity to attend.

This means that a baseball stadium with a capacity of 40,000 people, for instance, will be allowed to accept up to 20,000 fans.

Meanwhile, venues with a capacity of 10,000 or less will not be affected by the latest decision. Such facilities will limited to 5,000 spectators or 50% of venue capacity, whichever is greater, meaning a facility with a capacity of 8,000 people can have a maximum of 5,000 spectators, and only 4,000 for events where spectators tend to shout.

Some local governments may circumvent 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 demonstrative experiments regarding crowds with vaccine certificates or negative test results, with the goal of further relaxing the event restrictions. They aims to present plans for easing the curbs on events and gatherings where meals are served in early November at the earliest.

“We’ll review the restrictions, based on the results of the demonstrative experiments,” Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihiko Isozaki told a news conference on Thursday.

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