Nippon Professional Baseball will relax its current attendance limits beginning Sept. 19, the league said following an extraordinary meeting of team representatives on Saturday.
The meeting was held one day after the Japanese government announced it would eliminate the current cap of 5,000 people at large events and allow organizers to operate at half-capacity, changes that go into effect next week.
Earlier this week, NPB and the J. League submitted a joint request asking the government to raise the attendance cap to either 20,000 or half-capacity.
Speaking in an online news conference following the meeting of representatives, Atsushi Ihara, NPB secretary-general, said it would be up to each club to decide how many fans will be allowed to attend their home games. That’s due in part to the differing sizes and seating arrangements of each stadium.
The team representatives also agreed to communicate with their local governments and health care centers, as well as companies that operate public transportation, to help lower the risk of infection for fans traveling to and from games.
Ihara said NPB plans to adjust its coronavirus guidelines, but said those details will be discussed at a later date.
"With less than half the season left, we would like as many fans as possible to enjoy our games," NPB Commissioner Atsushi Saito said in a statement. "Of course, we will make even more of an effort to protect our players, staff and those who are coming to the stadiums, including our fans, from the coronavirus.
“Hopefully, what we are doing will contribute to the staging of next year's Olympics and Paralympics while also providing a roadmap for the organizers of other sports."
Following the government's guidelines, both NPB and the J. League have capped attendance at 5,000 per game since allowing fans to attend games on July 10.
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