TOKYO >> The Japan Sumo Association will allow fans to attend the July tournament Sunday at Ryogoku Kokugikan.
Set to take place in Tokyo instead of the usual Nagoya venue, the tournament initially was set to be held without spectators. But the association decided at a board meeting Monday that about 2,500 spectators would be allowed per day, filling about one-fourth the stadium’s capacity.
Government restrictions on events were relaxed Friday, and the association followed the lead of Japan’s professional baseball and top pro soccer leagues, which are holding games with spectators in attendance.
The upcoming sumo tournament will be the first in four months, following the Spring Grand Tournament in March. That event was held in Osaka with no spectators. The Summer Grand Summer Tournament slated for May was canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament slated for Nov. 8 will also be moved to Tokyo from Fukuoka, which would prevent large groups of wrestlers from traveling.
“The wrestlers have faithfully adhered to strict restrictions on going out and infection prevention measures to prepare for the July tournament,” said association chair Hakkaku, the former yokozuna Hokutoumi. “We’ll be proud to show you powerful bouts in the ring.”