Current State & Outlook of the Event Industry in Japan
As we head into the second half of 2021, this seems like a good moment to provide you with an update on the current status of the event industry and COVID-19 situation in Japan. Earlier this year we at JTB Meetings & Events by JTB Communication Design (JCD) reported on how the event industry has been changing, and that we could slowly start looking forward to live events again. How has the COVID-19 situation in Japan changed since then, and how has this impacted the Japanese event industry and its regulations?
COVID-19 and the Vaccine Rollout in Japan (July 2021)Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic Japan has generally recognized four waves of infection rates. At the time of writing the daily nationwide infection numbers are still around 1000 but have been on a downward trend for several weeks now. For detailed current COVID-19 infection numbers please refer to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare website. As for the vaccine rollout, Japan started in mid-February, and although lagging behind most Western countries, the speed and scale are expanding every day. For detailed current vaccine numbers please refer to the Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet’s website.
Event Regulations in Japan (July 2021)On June 20th Tokyo and a varying number of other prefectures ended the third COVID-19 related State of Emergency. This State of Emergency did not impose a hard lockdown, but instead put forth a number of measures and strong advisories for both businesses and public. Since the State of Emergency was lifted in all prefectures except Okinawa on June 21st, restrictions have become somewhat more lenient, but many remain in place for the time being in Tokyo and six other regions. For an overview of these general policies we refer you to the Cabinet Secretariat’s COVID-19 website. Some of the more notable advisories are against businesses selling alcoholic beverages at night and urging businesses to shorten their hours.
That said, let’s look at the most relevant restrictions as related to the event industry in Japan, using the Tokyo area as a basis. Here are some of the regulations currently in place after lifting the State of Emergency. Bear in mind that these restrictions are subject to change, and can differ per prefecture.
・ ‘Silent’ events such as seated classical concerts are allowed to take place with a venue’s full capacity, but with an upper limit of 5,000 attendees.
・ Events that involve intermingling and loud voices such as standing concerts can only be allowed with a maximum of 50% of a venue’s maximum capacity, as well as an upper limit of 5,000 attendees in most cases. For example, a venue that has a maximum of 500 people can only allow 250 people max. A venue with a maximum of 40,000 people can still not allow more than 5,000 attendees.
・ Bars and restaurants are not to serve alcoholic beverages after 19:00 and should close at 20:00.
・ Events are generally allowed to take place until 21:00, although this may vary per region.
Minimizing Infection Risk at EventsAside from these larger restrictions that are subject to change depending on infection rates, nowadays there are of course many more concrete guidelines to adhere to in order to minimize infection risks. From temperature checks and hand sanitizers, to spacing people out and putting up barriers, until the pandemic has truly winded down there are many things to consider when planning an event not only in Japan but all around the world.
In Japan, JCD now provides corporate events with due consideration for infectious disease prevention, supervised by experts. Please take a look at our recent white paper to 1) Understand the risks and appropriate countermeasures that can arise at an in-person event, 2) Get inspired to tentatively start planning in-person events again, and 3) Gain insight into the current state of the event industry in Japan. Click the link below to access the white paper.
An Infectious Disease Expert’s Insights