• The Financial District

JAPAN EYES EASING RULE ON CROWD SIZES

Japan plans to relax a rule limiting the size of crowds at professional sports, concerts and other events later this month amid signs that coronavirus cases are decreasing nationwide, government sources said.

Kyodo News said that under the current rule, venues are allowed to hold up to 50 percent of their capacity or up to a total of 5,000 people. The government is considering scrapping the 5,000-person cap as early as Sept. 19, the sources said.


The plan will be discussed when a panel of health experts meets on Friday.


The relaxation of the rule comes as part of government efforts to revive the pandemic-hit economy. The move would coincide with a four-day weekend in Japan starting Sept. 19.


Economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said last month the government might relax the restriction before the end of September if the daily number of new infections substantially decreases.


Event operators and spectators will be required to take thorough measures to prevent both the resurgence of the virus and spread of seasonal influenza, said the sources.


Nippon Professional Baseball and the J-League, Japan's professional soccer league, jointly submitted their request to ease the spectator cap to the government on Tuesday.


The government initially planned to ease the limit on Aug. 1, but it was later extended to the end of August and then to the end of this month as the country struggled to contain the virus.


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