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France's Japan Expo Postpones 2020 Event to 2021

posted on by Alex Mateo & Jennifer Sherman
Voice actor Rick May passes away; Amazon U.S. resumes non-essential shipments

Following France's president Emmanuel Macron prohibiting gatherings and events until mid-July, the organizers of Japan Expo have delayed the 2020 event until 2021. Organizers said:

It is with a heavy heart that we work with all our partners and providers to prepare for the following consequences. We will come back to you promptly with more information.

We understand and share your frustration. But if you want to help us, please wait a little time before contacting us, in order to give us the time to set up the terms of the various solutions we will offer. This is a first for us too.

Japan Expo has been described as the world's largest Japanese popular culture convention outside Japan. This year's event was originally scheduled to take place from July 2 to 5 at the Paris-Nord Villepinte Exhibition Center in Villepinte, France. City Hunter manga creator Tsukasa Hojo, character designer Yūsuke Kozaki, band Blue Encount, and singers May'n and TRUE were slated to attend.

Following Macron's event prohibition until mid-July, the Cannes Film Festival also announced on Tuesday that the event's postponement, which was originally considered for sometime between late June and early July, is "no longer an option." The festival's website stated that it would be difficult to hold this year's event "in its original form." The staff have started discussions with professionals, in France and abroad, and are exploring all contingencies to hold the event in some form.

The Cannes Film Festival had announced last month the postponement of this year's event, previously scheduled for May 12 to 23, due to concerns about the COVID-19 coronavirus illness.

Newly announced people and industries affected by concerns over COVID-19 in the West include:


People

The website for Seattle's Rekindle School revealed that voice actor and teacher Rick May, who played Peppy Hare and Andross in Nintendo's Star Fox 64 game, passed away due to COVID-19. He was 79. May had moved into a nursing home for rehabilitation after a stroke and caught the virus there. He was moved to a Swedish hospital before his passing.


Retailers

The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that Amazon is allowing third-party Fulfillment by Amazon retailers to resume "non-essential" shipments this week. There are quantity limits to prevent overcrowding at the company's warehouses. In addition, Amazon announced that it is opening 75,000 new positions. The company has hired 100,000 new full- and part-time employees at fulfillment centers throughout the United States. The company had opened the positions last month, aiming to "meet the surge in demand from people relying on Amazon's service during this stressful time, particularly those most vulnerable to being out in public.".

Last month, Amazon began prioritizing the restocking, fulfillment, and shipping of "household staples, medical supplies, and other high demand products" in light of the spread of COVID-19. Amazon had temporarily halted ordering for products other than those listed above. The company also had extended the delivery and shipment windows for existing orders for companies providing other products, including anime, manga, and games.


Events

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced at a press briefing on Tuesday that large events in California this June, July and August are "unlikely" due to the COVID-19 coronavirus situation. Newsom stated that the prospect of mass gatherings is "negligible until we get to herd immunity and... a vaccine."

Large events scheduled for this summer in California include Anime Expo, which is slated for July 2 to 5 in Los Angeles, and San Diego Comic Con, which is set for July 23 to 26 at the San Diego Convention Center.


Games

The official website for the Pokémon GO smartphone game revealed on Wednesday that the game is adding a Remote Raid Pass item that allows players to join any Raid Battles that they can see on the Nearby screen. Additional updates will include daily bonus Field Research tasks, gifts from Buddy Pokémon, the ability to power up Pokémon faster, and extended effect durations when activating multiple items at a time. The updates are part of Niantic's response to the COVID-19 outbreak.


Sources: Japan Expo's website and Twitter account, Amazon, The Wall Street Journal (Dana Mattioli) via ICv2, The Rekindle School via Nintendo Everything, Cannes Film Festival, IndieWire (Chris Lindahl), The Hill (Marty Johnson) via ICv2, Pokémon GO game's website


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