• Kyodo

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Japan plans to remove the spectator attendance limit for large-scale events and allow venues to be filled to capacity even under a COVID-19 state of emergency by using a system to check whether visitors have been vaccinated or have tested negative for the virus, government sources said Friday.

Under the current guidelines, attendance at large-scale events such as professional sports games and concerts is capped at 5,000 spectators or 50% of venue capacity, whichever is larger.

As new and serious COVID-19 cases have sharply fallen across the country recently, the government will revise the guidelines after hearing the opinions of COVID-19 experts possibly on Nov. 19, the sources said.

The current cap on event spectators will be lifted if event organizers submit to prefectural governments their own anti-virus plans, such as banning loud cheers, the sources said.

If organizers do not use the system to confirm proof of vaccination or a negative virus test, an attendance cap at 10,000 spectators during a virus state of emergency and 20,000 under a quasi-state of emergency will be implemented.

In addition, the government will also ease restrictions on dining establishments.

Restaurants and bars recognized by local governments for taking proper measures to prevent the spread of the virus will be allowed to open until 9 p.m. and serve alcohol even under a state of emergency, while no restrictions will be applied for such establishments under a quasi-state of emergency.

If business operators confirm a customer’s proof of vaccination or negative virus test result on site, the request for limiting group sizes to four people per table will be removed.

Travelers holding proof of vaccination or a negative virus test result will be able to cross prefectural borders freely even under a state of emergency, the sources said. Under the previous virus emergencies, people were asked to refrain from making nonessential outings.

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