CANCELED! From lunch meetings, to dinner dates, to exhibitions, to sporting events, and more this dirty nine-letter word keeps rearing its ugly head. Is the sky really falling? Are people and organizers being overly cautious?
As of this writing, the coronavirus has infected about 81,000 people in 34 countries and caused the death of at least 2,764. Japan, excluding the Diamond Princess passengers, has 161 confirmed cases and one death. With this number of cases worldwide the World Health Organization (WHO) is not calling the outbreak a pandemic.
In a recent news conference, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s director-general said, “We are not witnessing the uncontained global spread of this virus. What we are seeing are epidemics in different parts of the world, affecting countries in different ways.”
#Japan Travel Advisory Update: Level 2- Exercise increased caution due to outbreak of COVID-19, novel (new) #coronavirus disease. On January 30 the WHO determined the rapidly spreading outbreak constitutes Public Health Emergency of International Concern. https://t.co/840H5WbmUj pic.twitter.com/25cdcxLFLF
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) February 22, 2020
Travel Warnings for Japan
Over the weekend, the US State Department raised the travel warning levels for Japan and South Korea to Level 2 following the earlier same classification for Hong Kong. Level 2 means travelers are urged to exercise caution when considering travel to those countries. For comparison, China is Level 4, which means don’t travel there. A few countries have also banned arrivals from these countries.
In addition to travel warnings and bans, a number of companies, businesses, sports teams, and member-organizations have canceled or curtailed numerous events in Japan.
— Nikkei Asian Review (@NAR) February 26, 2020
What Has Been Canceled?
Sanrio Puroland announced at the end of last week that they are undergoing a three-weeks closure of their theme parks, Hello Kitty Land Tokyo and Harmony Land. They are calling it a “purely precautionary measure” in line with similar precautions taking place in Japan and other countries. Tokyo Disney Resort remains open, but reminds guests to take the normal precautions (update: Tokyo Disney Resort is temporarily closed from February 29–March 15, 2020). Not a theme park, but a popular theme destination, the Ghibli Museum will remain closed until March 17.
Tokyo’s major event of the year, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is, at this time, still a go. The IOC has said that the Olympics will proceed as planned and they will cancel only if the situation turns too dangerous. The IOC estimated they will have a two or three month window to make the final decision. The participating athletes, 11,000 for the Olympics and 4,400 for the Paralympics, should keep on training says the IOC, with the expectations that the events will occur.
Senior members of the International Olympic Committee raised the possibility Tuesday of cancellation or postponement of the Tokyo Games if the coronavirus outbreak wasn’t contained in the next three months https://t.co/qFLZ6fWwT3
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) February 25, 2020
Meanwhile, the Tokyo 2020 Press Office has also stated that, although there are no considerations of canceling the Games, training for the thousands of volunteers who will work in field cast positions will be postponed until further notice.
Numerous other events are also being canceled. If you are scheduled to attend any type of event it will behoove you to check with the organizers, or on the event page, to make sure it’s still on before you show up. An event of one isn’t really very interesting, especially if you are standing outside locked doors wondering where everybody else is.
COVID-19 fears hit live music in Japan https://t.co/9ukQL13DPg
— The Japan Times (@japantimes) February 26, 2020
While there are too many cancellations to list in an article of this size, we’ll list a few that have come to our attention.
• If you were planning on seeing a J-League soccer game you can hang up your favorite team shirt until after March 15 as all games have been postponed until then. And, don’t think of running off to Hong Kong for a dose of sports because the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix and the Hong Kong Sevens rugby have also been suspended. Even the table tennis world championships in Korea have been postponed until late June.
Official Announcement: All matches previously scheduled until March 15th in the 2020 Meiji Yasuda J.League and J.League YBC Levain Cup will be postponed. Substitutional dates and handling of tickets will be announced once decided. https://t.co/yRaaz1W37W
— J.LEAGUE Official EN (@J_League_En) February 25, 2020
• The Yomiuri Giants will be playing to empty seats in the two preseason games against the Yakult Swallows this weekend as the doors to Tokyo Dome will be closed to fans. The rest of the season is still on track to start March 20th, but the Giants will make the actual go/no-go decision later.
A quick “straw poll” of a number of SNS friends turned up several more event cancellations.
• The Japan Golf Fair scheduled for March 19-21 in Yokohama: canceled.
• The Tokyo Marathon, scheduled for March 1 with 38,000 runners – only Elite Runners (about 200 people) will be allowed to participate. For the rest of the runners: canceled.
• The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) Asia-Tokyo conference scheduled for March 10-11: canceled.
• All exhibitions, seminars, and symposiums related to “NIKKEI MESSE,” scheduled for March 3-6 at Tokyo Big Sight and Makuhari Messe: canceled.
• Yomiuri Land is temporarily closed from February 29–March 15.
• Scheduled events for Setagaya Plum Festival canceled.
• Scheduled events for Yushima Tenjin Plum Festival canceled.
• Scheduled events for Japanese Plum Garden at Koishikawa Korakuen canceled.
• Mori Art Museum is temporarily closed from February 29–March 13.
• The Forever Saul Letter exhibition at Bunkamura is canceled.
Peter Doig exhibition at The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo is temporarily closed from February 29–March 15.
• The Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum is temporarily closed from February 28–March 16.
• The Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum is temporarily closed from February 29–March 15.
• The Sakana & Japan Festival at Yoyogi Park is canceled.
• The Hara Museum of Contemporary Art is temporarily closed until March 13.
• Performances at New National Theatre, Tokyo are canceled through March 15.
There you have it, folks. As noted earlier, before going check it out to make sure your event is still on.
— Reuters (@Reuters) February 25, 2020
Feature image: Angelina Bambina / Shutterstock.com