Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, several anime projects had to be postponed last year. A scenario that could soon be repeated. According to a recent report by NHK, the Japanese government is considering declaring a state of emergency for some regions of the country.
Tokyo and Surrounding Areas Face a State of Emergency
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference yesterday that these measures could hit Tokyo and some prefectures adjacent to it. The basis for this is a law for special measures. The state of emergency in Tokyo, Saitama, Kanagawa and Chiba could come into force before this weekend. If this were to happen, the measures would initially remain in place for about a month.
The prefectures are expected to urge their residents not to make unnecessary trips after 8 p.m. Furthermore, public life should also be further restricted.
Shops selling alcohol are expected to close before 8p from 8 to 31 January 2021. Meanwhile, restaurants that do not drink alcohol are also scheduled to close before 8 p.m. from 11 to 31 January 2021. Experts would have advised the government to take these steps, as many new infections were most likely associated with food and drink. However, theatres and cinemas would not have to fear any further restrictions.
Cinemas of the Cinema Sunshine chain, however, were already responding to the impending restrictions and announced last Saturday that ticket sales in Tokyo and the adjacent prefectures would be temporarily suspended. If the cinemas are open, tickets can only be purchased on the day of the performance.
More Anime Shifts? Infection Rates too High in Japan
The reason for these considerations is the recent massive increase in the number of daily registered COVID-19 new infections in Tokyo and the surrounding area. Therefore, on 2 January 2021, the leaders of the prefectures had already asked the central government to declare a state of emergency.
Should this happen, it would be the second state of emergency during the pandemic. Last year, the proclaimed measures forced many anime studios to temporarily paralyze their productions. As a result, several series had to pause and other projects had to be postponed.
On 4 January 2021, Tokyo reported 884 new COVID-19 cases. This marks the highest number of new infections on a Monday to date. At the time, this increased the total number of registered cases to 63,474, of which the government classifies 108 as serious cases.