Event Industry in Japan: Looking Back at 2020

And just like that we have entered 2021! As we say here in Japan: kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegaishimasu!, meaning: we at JTB Meetings & Events by JTB Communication Design (JCD) are looking forward to working together with you this year as well.

2020 was a rough year around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down, as well as led to frustration over having to restrict social interaction. Countless industries have suffered major economic setbacks, the events industry being impacted heavily in particular. But in the end it was not all bad, as the industry was forced to innovate, and did so successfully in many ways, with the shift to online and hybrid events. Let’s take a look back at 2020 and what happened in Japan and with JCD.

outdoor event social distance

2020 in Japan

Without going too much into detail, Japan was one of the earlier countries with COVID-19 cases, and had to react quickly. In March/April Japan experienced a partial ‘soft lockdown’ including a halt to all gatherings and many public establishments shutting down for weeks. After that followed a period of slowly opening things back up with restrictions in place, and implementing measures. Throughout the year Japan went through three COVID-19 waves, with a middling case count when compared to the rest of the world. If you are curious to read more on the pandemic's impact in Japan you can find information here.

japan working office covid

2020 for JCD

Just like other major corporations in Japan, in response to the government's declaration of emergency, JCD switched to minimal essential work attendance during April. A strong shift to work-from-home was also initiated, which is still being implemented to this day. Sadly, many events were forced to be postponed or in some cases even cancelled. However, like the rest of the event industry around the world, we immediately started considering our alternatives.

How could we change planned events in such a way that they could still take place? This led to a number of events, that were planned as in person live events, to be quickly transformed into online forms. Whether these were seminars turned webinars, or tradeshows turned into virtual events. Of course, we had experience with holding events like this in the past, but the sudden demand for more complex events that satisfied our clients’ desires, led to a wave of creative innovation. We tried out new ideas, learned on the go, and adapted.

japan business planning

Highlights of 2020

One example of a 2020 highlight for us was this large scale convention that had to be converted into an online event in a short period of time. While sticking to the client’s vision, we managed to set up an online experience that was as close to, and in some ways even more fruitful than, the planned live event.

Another highlight for us was the creation of the JCD Event Platform that allowed us to start our own webinar series, in which we invite speakers from around the globe to shed light on the state of the industry, and recent innovations. The target audience is our Japanese clients who are curious to know about what is going on in the event industry in other countries, and therefore the platform is currently only available in Japanese. However, since these sessions can provide insights to our global clients and readers as well, we will include links to the on-demand recordings on the Our Work page for a limited time after each webinar! Please take a look!

japan business travel

Looking forward!

Although the pandemic is not over yet, vaccinations have started in certain countries, slowly providing a more positive outlook. As the year proceeds, we can start thinking about, and hopefully planning events for the future. As always, feel free to contact us here at any time with your questions, ideas, and inquiries. Let’s work together towards recovery, and in the end come out of this stronger than ever.

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