The Japan Professional Baseball League announced today that will expand public entry into stadiums to 80% of their total capacity during certain matches, which will allow testing the effectiveness of anti-COVID measures ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

This initiative represents another step in the relaxation of spectator access restrictions to mass sporting events in Japan, since at the beginning of last July the public was allowed to return to the stands of the main national sports competitions.

Currently a 50% cap of the total capacity of venues with more than 10,000 seats, although in the Japanese soccer league the clubs have chosen to keep the maximum entry at 10,000 people.

This limit will be extended to around 80% of Yokohama Stadium capacity, with capacity for 34,000 people, during three matches of the national league of baseball which will be played by the local team, the Yokohama DeNA BayStars, between October 30 and November 1, as announced today by those responsible for the championship.

The objective is “review the measures in progress and test progressively to find out how much public could enter the stadiums, “said the commissioner of the National Baseball League (NPB), Atsushi Saito, at a telematic press conference on Monday.

The events will provide “data and results” on current contagion prevention measures that will be useful not only for national competitions, but also for the Olympic Games scheduled in Tokyo for the summer of 2021, said Mitsuo Kaku, sanitary expert and one of those in charge of coordinating these measures in the national leagues.

In the case of soccer league, the cap of 50% of the capacity will be maintained for now in the stadiums, although it is expected that in the final of the Levain Cup to be held on November 7, 24,000 spectators will be reached for the first time in the stands of a venue since the limitations imposed by the pandemic.

That match will be played at Tokyo Olympic Stadium, what will be the headquarters of the Games in the Japanese capital, while the aforementioned Yokohama Stadium will host the Olympic baseball and softball tournaments.

The organizers of the Tokyo Olympics have pointed out that they carefully follow health security measures taken in the main national sports competitions with a view to its possible application in the Olympic event that was postponed for a year due to the pandemic.

In addition to limited access to stadiums, Japan takes the body temperature of each viewer, it applies social distancing and prohibits singing, shouting or hugging in the stands, among other measures aimed at preventing the spread of the new coronavirus.