• Kyodo

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Venues for the upcoming Emperor’s Cup semifinals and final will be allowed to reach full capacity, the Japan Football Association announced Tuesday, in a major relaxation of coronavirus safety measures for large sporting events.

The Dec. 12 semifinals and Dec. 19 final of the tournament are set to be Japan’s first major sports events without attendance limits since the start of the pandemic.

Organizers received approval after submitting safety plans to local governments where the matches are to be held.

Saitama Stadium, which holds some 60,000 fans, will host the semifinal between the Urawa Reds and Cerezo Osaka, while Kawasaki’s roughly 25,000-seat Todoroki Stadium is the venue for the other penultimate-round clash between Kawasaki Frontale and Oita Trinita.

Tokyo’s National Stadium, with a capacity of around 68,000, will host the final.

The 2020 final, which took place at the same venue on New Year’s Day, welcomed a crowd of just 13,318 after ticket sales were suspended in the wake of Japan’s fourth coronavirus wave.

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