When Will Live Events Be Allowed Again in Japan?
Since the Coronavirus pandemic hit, the Japanese live music business has faced a crisis of unprecedented magnitude.
More than 150,000 concerts have been canceled and losses are piling up across the industry.
However, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Since ending the state of emergency at the end of May, the Japanese government has begun to plan for a gradual reopening of the event industry.
Currently, indoor concerts are allowed for up to 100 attendees, while outdoor events can be held for up to 200 people.
After June 19th, gatherings of up to 1,000 people will become possible. This would thus include events at small live-houses such as Liquidroom (capacity: 600 people) or Shibuya Quattro (800 people), as well as mid-sized clubs such as Womb.
From July 10th, the capacity limits will be increased to 5,000, thus possibly restarting larger live-house shows at places such as Zepp Tokyo (capacity: 2,700) or Toyosu Pit (3,000).
At this point you might be wondering: What if there is a second Covid-19 wave?
Indeed, these plans by the Japanese government will have to be evaluated continuously. The further into the future the plans of reopening the Japanese event economy, the trickier any predictions become.
However, if the Covid-19 situation can be kept under control even after this gradual reopening, the government may remove capacity limitations by the beginning of August. This would mean, that events of any size could take place, though venues are advised to continue operating at only 50% of their usual capacity in order to ensure social distancing.
Of course, there is no guarantee that events planned after the reopening will in fact, take place. For example, Fuji Rock Festival 2020 which was set to happen in late August, has already been canceled. Organizers and promoters will likely remain cautious.
Also, while the reopening dates have been announced by the national government, regional guidelines can differ. In Tokyo for instance, the government is more cautious, asking small venues to remain closed until later.
The future of live events in Japan remains uncertain but it seems just a matter of time until Covid-19 is fully under control and fans can enjoy concerts and other events in person again.