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Japan Outlines When Concerts, Events May Resume After COVID-19 State of Emergency

posted on by Jennifer Sherman
Up to 1,000 people starting June 19, up to 5,000 starting July 10, with conditions

The Japanese government outlined guidelines on Monday for tentatively resuming concerts, events, and other activities as Japan's state of emergency for the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lifts on Tuesday. Attendees at concerts, exhibitions, and other events should be limited to 100 people (or 200 people if outdoors) until June 18. Then events may have up to 1,000 attendees from June 19 to July 9, and up to 5,000 attendees from July 10 to 31. Limits to the number of attendees at a single event may then lift on August 1.

Throughout Japan's reopening phases, indoor events should limit the number of attendees to 50% of the venue's capacity. This restriction will continue even after August 1. For outdoor events, attendees should maintain "sufficient distance of two meters if possible." Additionally, professional sports may resume on June 19, but matches should have no spectators until July 10.

People may resume travel between most prefectures on June 1. However, the government is asking people not to travel to or from Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, and Hokkaido — which are all lifting the state of emergency on Tuesday — until June 19. Tourism within prefectures may resume as of Monday, and traveling between prefectures except for tourism may be allowed as of June 19. All limits on tourism may lift on August 1.

The Japanese government noted that it will not legally enforce the new guidelines, and prefectural governors may issue additional formal requests to citizens and businesspeople depending on the situation in each prefecture. For example, Tokyo is asking live houses (smaller indoor live music venues) to remain closed until further notice. If COVID-19 statistics increase again, the central government may postpone reopening measures or add more restrictions.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe announced on Monday that the Japanese government has decided to lift the state of emergency for COVID-19 from the five remaining prefectures, thus removing the state of emergency from the entire nation as of midnight on Tuesday. The declaration came six days earlier than the previously scheduled May 31 nationwide lifting of the state of emergency.

Last Friday, the Tokyo government outlined a three-phase roadmap for reopening. In the first phase after the Japanese government lifts the state of the emergency, museums, libraries, regular schools, sports facilities, and similar facilities would start to open, but no seating for spectators would be allowed until the second phase. The maximum number of attendees at events would be limited to 50 during phase 1, 100 in phase 2, and 1,000 in phase 3. Tokyo specifically asks that smaller indoor live music venues, restaurants with entertainment (like night clubs), karaoke facilities, fitness gyms, and similar facilities with high risks of cluster infections to remain closed in any of the three phases.

Abe declared a state of emergency in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Hyogo, and Fukuoka from April 7 to May 6. Kyoto Governor Takatoshi Nishiwaki asked the Japanese government on April 10 to add Kyoto to the state of emergency. Aichi Governor Hideaki Ōmura similarly asked the Japanese government on April 16 to add his prefecture to the list, and then independently declared a state of emergency on April 17. Hokkaido had lifted its own three-week state of emergency on March 19, only to declare a second state of emergency on April 12.

Abe then announced on April 16 that the national government expanded the state of emergency nationwide until May 6. As required by the newly enacted law that allowed for this declaration, Abe met with the government's COVID-19 task force of experts before formally announcing the expansion. The government later extended the state of emergency to May 31, but two weeks lifted it from 39 out of 47 prefectures, and last week lifting the state of emergency from all but five of the prefectures.

As of Sunday, Japan has reported 16,550 cases of the virus (not including 712 cases from the Diamond Princess cruise ship), with 820 deaths (not including 13 deaths from the Diamond Princess cruise ship).

Sources: Mainichi Shimbun, NHK

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