The Thursday editions of all national dailies wrote that the GOJ decided on Wednesday to postpone its plan to ease on Aug. 1 the current cap of 5,000 on event capacity and maintain it through the end of August in view of the spike in COVID-19 cases nationwide. The papers wrote that the government made the decision based on discussions on Wednesday at the GOJ subcommittee on the novel coronavirus. The current government guidelines state that up to 5,000 attendees, or 50% of the venue’s capacity, are permitted at indoor or outdoor events such as concerts and professional sporting events.
In a related development, Monday’s Mainichi and Sankei gave front-page play to the J League’s announcement yesterday that a game between Hiroshima and Nagoya that was planned for the same day was canceled at the last minute because three players on the Nagoya team tested positive for COVID-19. This was the first time for a J League event to be suspended on account of the coronavirus. While the professional soccer association has implemented various infectious disease prevention measures, such as testing athletes, coaches, and referees every two weeks, the daily noted that as the three players were found to be infected through tests other than those administered by the league, the episode illustrates the paramount difficulty organizing large-scale sporting and other public events during the pandemic.