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Fukushima to bar spectators from Olympic softball, baseball

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mainichi– Tokyo Olympics’ softball and baseball games scheduled at Fukushima Azuma stadium will be held behind closed doors, Fukushima Prefectural Gov. Masao Uchibori said Saturday.

The Olympic and Paralympic organizing committee said Thursday all events in the Tokyo metropolitan area would be held without spectators after the Japanese government placed Tokyo under another state of emergency until Aug. 22 amid the latest spike in COVID-19 cases.

The two sports, in the Olympics this year for the first time since 2008, will now be closed to spectators in both Fukushima and their tournament’s main venue, Yokohama Stadium.

On Friday, the organizers reversed their original decision to allow a limited number of fans for men’s and women’s soccer matches at Sapporo Dome in the northern isle of Hokkaido and those games will now be held behind closed doors.

Three softball games were scheduled for both July 21 and 22, ahead of the Olympics opening ceremony in Tokyo on July 23. Defending Olympic champion Japan takes on Australia in the very first event of this summer’s games on July 21.

Fukushima Azuma stadium is also slated to host the July 28 baseball opener between Japan and the Dominican Republic.

Up to 7,150 fans were to be permitted at games in Fukushima based on Thursday’s decision, with the result of the ticket lottery announced earlier on Saturday.

Organizers said events in Ibaraki and Shizuoka prefectures are still expected to allow spectators.