TOKYO: The Japanese government is seen requesting professional and other large-scale sports events be held behind closed doors after an expected full lifting of the coronavirus state of emergency, Jiji Press learned Friday.
The government will release guidelines on precautions against COVID-19 over sports-related activities, including travel across prefectural borders, when deciding whether to lift the emergency as early as Monday, government sources said.
The spread of the novel coronavirus has led to a halt to professional sports games. The Nippon Professional Baseball Organization has put off the opening of the 2020 regular season, while the Japan Professional Football League, or J.League, is suspending this year’s season from late February.
The government hopes that major sports events will be restarted as a symbol marking the resumption of Japan’s economic and social activities.
The government is expected to approve the restart of large sports events as early as June. But it is considering requesting that such events be held without spectators for the time being after the restart, according to the sources.
The state of emergency, declared on April 7, is in place in the five prefectures of Saitama, Chiba, Tokyo, Kanagawa and Hokkaido after partial liftings. Its expiration is set for May 31, but the government is considering lifting it entirely as early as Monday depending on the situation of the infection.