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TAAF 2020 Event Cancels All Programs, Ultraman Taiga Film Delayed, Namjatown Amusement Park Temporarily Closes

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins & Egan Loo
Skytree collab with FF VII Remake closes, Pokémon Centers in Japan cancel planned events

The organizers of the Tokyo Anime Award Festival (TAAF) 2020 event announced on Monday that they are cancelling all programs at the event in an effort to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The organizers are considering how to alter the judging of works at the event, and still plan to announce winners. The event was planned for March 13-16.

Additionally, Tsuburaya Productions announced on Monday that the Gekijōban Ultraman Taiga: New Gene Climax film's opening in Japan is postponed. The film was originally scheduled to open on March 6. Other delayed anime films include Doraemon: Nobita no Shin Kyoryū (also originally slated for March 6) and Shimajirō to Sora Tobu Fune (originally scheduled for February 28). All three films do not yet have a new release date. Disney has also delayed the opening of Onward (scheduled for March 13) and the live-action Mulan (scheduled for April 17) films in Japan.

In the United States, the organizers of the Emerald City Comic Con event in Seattle announced on Sunday that they will still hold the event as planned on March 12-15. The event will implement "enhanced cleaning and sanitization across the show."

Other recently announced cancellations, closings, and delays include:

  • The "Skytree in Midgar Final Fantasy VII Remake" collaboration at Tokyo's famed Skytree tower announced on Saturday that the collaboration will be closed from March 1-15.

  • Bandai Namco's NAMJATOWN amusement park in the Sunshine City mall in Tokyo's Ikebukuro district is closed from February 29 to March 15. The park plans to reopen on March 16, and staff will announce on the park's website and Twitter account any future updates.

  • The Pokémon Center Mega Tokyo shop in the same Sunshine City mall will delay its "grand opening" event from March 6 to April. However, the shop will still be open on temporary hours in March, but without the planned "Touch the Pokémon" campaign with a sticker giveaway, Pokémon greetings, and March 20 special event.

  • All Pokémon Center stores in Japan are cancelling events starting last Saturday.

  • The Pokémon Café and Pokémon Center Osaka DX shop in Osaka's Shinsaibashi district are also temporarily closing on March 3, 10, 17, and 24, as the Daimaru department store building the cafe and shop are housed in will also close on those dates. Other select Daimaru stores across Japan are also closing on those dates.

  • Similarly, the planned "Hello, One Piece" exhibition in Osaka will close on March 24 since the Daimaru Department store in the Umeda district will close on that date. The exhibition will otherwise be held from March 18 through April 6.

  • The "Buster Call = One Piece" art exhibition is postponed. The event was originally scheduled for March 29 through April 12 in Yokohama.

As of Sunday, the WHO reported that Japan has 239 cases of the virus. Mainichi Shimbun reported on Sunday that six people have died in Japan. These numbers do not include the number of cases from the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama. That cruise ship had 705 infected passengers, and six deaths.

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has asked that all elementary, junior high, and high schools in Japan close from March 2 until the end of students' regular spring break, which is typically early April.

The first reported cases of the COVID-19 disease occurred in Wuhan, China in December, and then began to spread in varying rates and intensities across many parts of the globe through incubation in human hosts. The WHO declared a world health emergency on January 30. As of Sunday, the WHO reported that there are 87,137 infected individuals worldwide, with 79,968 of them in China and 239 official cases in Japan proper. 2,873 individuals have died from the disease in China. The WHO raised its global risk assessment over the virus from "high" to "very high" on Friday.

Sources: Press release, Cinema Today (link 2), 4Gamer (荒井陽介), NAMJATOWN's Twitter account via Nijimen, Pokémon franchise's Twitter account and website, Inside Games, Daimaru, Anime! Anime! (曙ミネ)

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