Baseball and soccer – Japan’s two most popular sports, were the first to reopen to audiences in April. Up to 5,000 fans are allowed to enter the court under rules such as checking body temperature, wearing a mask and limit cheers.
Tokyo Olympics officials said they will be closely monitoring the fans’ return to the stadium while working to reorganize the 2020 Olympics next year.
Hours before the first match started, baseball fans gathered at Zozo Marine Stadium, with a capacity of 30,000 people, in Makuhari city, just east of Tokyo.
“The atmosphere was so different. When I watched the match at the stadium. The excitement and enthusiasm was completely different to at home,” said Lions Tetsuya Osako a 36-year-old fan. “I’ve been waiting for this match for a long time.”
However, the atmosphere at the Japanese stadium is now very different from when Covid-19 had not yet exploded. There were no more trumpets, drums and passionate cheers that were familiar to the players at the stadium. Fans are prohibited from singing, shouting, waving flags or having close contact such as banging hands and putting their shoulders together.
“For those who believe that the baseball experience has to begin with cold beer and shouting cheers for their favorite team, the tough days may still lie ahead. I want to be here on the days “said Satoshi Furuhashi.
Officials have tried to lower fears about the second wave of Covid-19, saying that the new infections have mainly come from young people, concentrated in epidemic clusters in Tokyo nightlife.
Many baseball fans say they trust the anti-infection measures here. “I’ve seen how rigorous they prepare to prevent the Covid-19 pandemic. So I’m at ease,” said Noriyuki Fukai, 47, who came to the stadium with her 6-year-old son.
“I always come here to cheer for my team, but today I think I am very excited about the beat and catch the ball,” said Fukai.
Covid-19 appeared in more than 210 countries and infected more than 23.4 million people, over 809,000 people died and 15.2 million recovered. Japan currently records more than 63,144 cases and nearly 1,201 deaths.