NPB 50% fan plan in jeopardy

The Nikkan Sports reported Sunday that Japan’s government would like sports events to reconsider opening their venues to half capacity from Aug. 1 in the light of daily increases in new COVID-19 infections.

At a press conference on Saturday the government’s Minister for Economic Revitalization, Yasutoshi Nishimura said in reference to the Aug. 1 relaxation on attendance restrictions at sports and events, “We would like a careful consideration to take place.”

NPB coronavirus timeline

“If we relax the restrictions, many more people will be moving around.”

Nishimura’s statements come six days after Nippon Professional Baseball’s owners said they would not reconsider their plan to go ahead with admitting up to about half of their venues’ capacities from Aug. 1.

Speaking after Monday’s online owners meeting, DeNA BayStars owner Tomoko Namba said, “The situation does not require us to change our current plan.”

Despite that, the Nippon Ham Fighters, based in Japan’s northernmost main island of Hokkaido, indicated this past week that they are not set to expand attendance beyond the current 5,000 limit that has been in place since the government gave the OK for spectators to attend games from July 10.

The news comes on the same day the Japan Sumo Association kicks off its first grand tournament in two months with up to 2,500 fans to be admitted daily. March’s 15-day tourney went on as scheduled in Osaka, but was the first in history to be held behind closed doors. May’s grand tournament was canceled after the government announced a state of emergency in April.

The July tournament, traditionally held in Nagoya, was moved to Tokyo, where all of the sumo stables are located, to decrease travel during the health crisis.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *