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Ghibli Theme Park Exhibit in Aichi Postponed as Governor Asks Japan Gov't to Add Prefecture to State of Emergency

posted on by Alex Mateo & Crystalyn Hodgkins
SUPER BEAVER drummer, Square Enix staff member diagnosed with COVID-19; Disney/USJ theme parks extend closure

The governor of Aichi prefecture stated on Thursday that he has asked the Japanese government to add Aichi to the list of prefectures that are placed under a state of emergency. Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency in seven prefectures on Tuesday, including Osaka and Tokyo. Aichi contains the city of Nagoya, which has a population of 2.2 million.

With the prefecture of Hokkaido under a stage of emergency from late February to mid-March, over half of Japan's population was, is, or would be under a state of emergency. These affected prefectures are all of Japan's nine most populous prefectures.

Below is a roundup of other events and places in Japan affected due to COVID-19 coronavirus concerns:

Theme Parks

Disney and Universal Studios both announced on Thursday that they are delaying the reopenings for Tokyo DisneyLand, Disney Sea, and Universal Studios Japan. All three parks are now closed through mid-May.

Retailers in Japan

The Animate and Mandarake retailers in Japan have announced that some stores are temporarily closed (often because the malls they are in are closed), will be closed on weekends, or will have altered opening times.

Ghibli Exhibit

"The Great Ghibli Exhibit ~Two More Years Until the Ghibli Park's Opening~" exhibit of display items destined for the upcoming Ghibli Park has been postponed to an unannounced date due to concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus disease. The exhibit was scheduled to take place at the Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art from June 25 to September 16. Tickets will be refunded from April 10 to June 30.

The exhibit will be the last preview of the theme park's contents before they move into the park's Ghibli no Daisōko Area (Giant Ghibli Storehouse) in two years. "The Great Ghibli Exhibit ~Two More Years Until the Ghibli Park's Opening~" will bring back the materials shown in the earlier Great Ghibli Exhibits.

The Ghibli no Daisōko, Seishun no Oka (Hill of Youth), and Dondoko Mori (Dondoko Forest) areas of the Ghibli theme park are slated to open in fall 2022, followed by the Mononoke no Sato Area (Mononoke Village, inspired by Princess Mononoke) and Majo no Tani Area (Witch Valley, inspired by Kiki's Delivery Service) about one year later. The Dondoko Mori Area will feature a recreation of the shrine and path from My Neighbor Totoro.

Studio Ghibli also maintains The Ghibli Museum, located in Mitaka in west Tokyo. The Ghibli Museum has interactive exhibits and replicas of iconic Ghibli creations, and it offers a rotating screening of different Ghibli-animated shorts. The museum is closed from February 25 to April 28 due to concerns over the COVID-19 coronavirus disease.

Nico Nico Chō Kaigi Changes

Dwango announced on Thursday more changes and cancellations for events that were planned to be held at the Nico Nico Chō Kaigi event on April 18-19. Dwango had cancelled the event in March, but some events planned to take place at the convention had still planned to be livestreamed.

The "Chō Kabuki" kabuki stage play featuring Hatsune Miku was going to be planned as a livestream event instead that weekend, but is now cancelled. Postponed events as part of Nico Nico Chō Kaigi include "VTuber Fes Japan" and "VOCALOID Fes."

People Diagnosed With COVID-19

Rock band SUPER BEAVER announced on Wednesday that their drummer Hiroaki Fujiwara has been diagnosed with the COVID-19 coronavirus disease. Fujiwara had symptoms of a fever on April 1, and he tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. His symptoms have improved, and he is continuing treatment at home under direction of the health care center. SUPER BEAVER's leader and bassist Kenta Uesugi was also in poor physical condition. He has contacted the health care center and is staying at home. The other two band members have not reported symptoms or issues with health.

Additionally, Square Enix announced on Thursday that a worker at its headquarters in Tokyo has tested positive with the virus. The worker is under medical care at home, at the guidance of a doctor. All employees at the company will now work from home until May 6.

Thanks to crosswithyou for the Hiroaki Fujiwara news tip.

Sources: The Japan Times, Cinema Today, USJ, Animate, Mandarake, Studio Ghibli, Nico Nico Chō Kaigi, Oricon, SUPER BEAVER band's website, Oricon, Famitsu.com

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