Japan’s live music industry has been successful in urging the government to rescind its no-audience requests at live events as the country’s COVID-19 state of emergency is extended.
The Japanese government has decided to extend the current state of emergency to May 31 and has today (Friday) added three more prefectures to the four already placed under COVID-19 restrictions.
Hokkaido, Okayama and Hiroshima will on Sunday join Tokyo, Osaka and four other prefectures under a state of emergency until the end of the month.
Events within these seven areas will be allowed to be held with spectators again, but will be capped at 5,000 attendees or 50 per cent of venue capacity and must conclude by 9pm.
The announcement comes after four Japanese music industry associations – the Japan Association of Music Enterprises, the Federation of Music Producers Japan, the All Japan Concert and Live Entertainment Promoters Conference and the Music Publishers Association of Japan – urged the government to remove its ban on attendance.
In the statement, the organisations stressed that since March 2020, there has been no virus clusters reported “as a result of concerts, theatrical performances or other such events among the organisations’ member firms.”
The associations claimed: “By implementing thorough countermeasures with the cooperation of customers, we have accumulated evidence of zero reported cases of infection, and have shown that live performance and concert venues are in no way high-risk places for infection.”
The move to extend Japan’s state of emergency has come as the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games draws nearer, scheduled to take place from 23 Jul to 8 Aug 2021. There has been a rise in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, with the daily number of new infections topping 6,000 for the third straight day on Thursday.