The Japanese government is considering setting a cap of 10,000 spectators at the venues of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics as a COVID-19 precaution, sources with knowledge of the matter said Wednesday.
The decision is set to be finalized in forthcoming discussions with the games' organizing committee, Tokyo metropolitan officials, and the international Olympic and Paralympic committees.
The government has said from July through August, it will allow up to 10,000 spectators at major events such as sports games and concerts in prefectures where it has lifted a COVID-19 state of emergency, as long as attendance does not surpass 50 percent of venue capacity.
Under existing guidelines effective until the end of this month, major events in prefectures not under a state of emergency are allowed a maximum of 5,000 people or 50 percent of venue capacity, whichever number is greater.
The government is concerned this would allow too many people to gather at Olympic venues, raising the risk of the coronavirus spreading. Under the current rule, 34,000 spectators would be allowed at the 68,000-person capacity National Stadium, the venue for the opening ceremony of the games.
The 10,000-person cap would also apply to areas where a quasi-state of emergency has been lifted.
The government is set to announce this month how many domestic spectators will be able to attend the Tokyo Olympics, having already decided not to allow overseas fans.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has said attendance at the games will be in line with guidelines for other major events, while the government's top coronavirus adviser, Shigeru Omi, has said he has been told by officials that the 10,000-person cap has "nothing to do" with the Olympics.