TOKYO, June 16 (Xinhua) -- Japan's minister in charge of the coronavirus response said Wednesday the government is planning to raise the cap on the number of spectators allowed to attend large events at 10,000 in areas where the COVID-19 state of emergency has been lifted.
Overseas spectators have been banned from attending, due to the potential for the further spread of the novel coronavirus and the highly contagious variants.
According to Yasutoshi Nishimura, the minister in charge of the COVID-19 response, the new attendance cap, which could replace the current cap of 5,000 people or 50 percent of a venue's capacity, could be in place from July to August.
The new guidelines for attendance at large events will be approved later on Wednesday following deliberation by an expert panel.
Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Hyogo have been under a virus state of emergency since April 25.
The measures, which were originally supposed to be lifted on May 11, have been extended twice and expanded to include Aichi, Fukuoka, Hokkaido, Okayama, Hiroshima and Okinawa prefectures.
The state of emergency is currently set to end for all 10 prefectures on June 20, although the government said, thereafter, it is mulling imposing a quasi-state of emergency on Tokyo and other prefectures until the end of the Olympics on Aug. 8.
It has also suggested such measures could be lifted and reimposed prior to the Games' start.