Missing from Alvark's line up w two of their foreign players, Kevin Jones, and newcomer Deshaun Thomas.
TOKYO, Oct. 06, 2020: Thousands of fans have returned to sporting venues across Japan as the country adopts new measures that allow spectators to attend live events.
The J1 League football and NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball) - two of the most popular sports in the country – continue to draw large crowds since the government lifted the cap on major sporting events last month, from having 5,000 spectators in attendance to allowing venues to be at 50 percent capacity.
NPB teams like the Yokohama Baystars have already lifted their cap to allow 16,000 spectators at the Yokohama Stadium, while the Giants have eased restrictions to allow up to 19,000 fans attend games at the Tokyo Dome. Some 14,500 fans are allowed to watch the Yakult Swallows play ball at the Jingu Stadium in Tokyo.
NPB teams are playing 120 games instead of the normal 143 which is set to finish in the first week of November.
Japan’s B. League also opened its the 2020-21 season last Friday (2 October) with fan attendance capped to half the stadium capacity with the rest of the fans tuning online.
As one of the season's opener, two-time B. League champions Alvark Tokyo battled it out against Kawasaki Brave Thunders, and won 85-79 in front of a reduced home crowd.
Missing from Alvark's line up w two of their foreign players, Kevin Jones and newcomer Deshaun Thomas.
“Since we’ve practiced without some of our players, our fans probably anticipated this would be a tough game for us,” ANDO Seiya told Japan Times. “But we’ve practised with the guys we have and wanted to win the season opener. So it feels great to do that. I think we played to the best we can now.”
With newly signed foreign athletes still unable to enter the country, the Japanese Professional Basketball Association have made a provision to allow squads to sign athletes who are already in Japan.
The 104th Japan Athletics National Athletics Championships ended last Saturday 3 October after three days of competition with more than 700 athletes taking part.
To ensure the health and safety of athletes and the spectators, a maximum of 2,000 residents from the Niigata Prefecture were allowed to watch the meet in the 42,000 capacity stadium.
A total of 5,218 spectators living in Niigata attended over the three days.
It is in stark contrast to a few months before when baseball and football resumed in the country behind closed doors - a sign of the growing optimism that life is returning to some form of normalcy after COVID-19 restrictions have been eased around the country.
Both NPB and J1 League have also reaffirmed their commitment to maintain safety precautions whilst allowing more fans to enjoy the matches. J1 League has also started offering live broadcasts on their YouTube channel in selected countries, as part of their strategy to build their audience outside Japan.