The governor of Hokkaido prefecture and the mayor of the city of Sapporo jointly issued a declaration of emergency on Sunday as the number of new coronavirus illness (COVID-19) infections increased again. Governor Suzuki Naomichi believes Japan's northernmost prefecture is experiencing a second wave of infections after the number of newly confirmed cases remained in double digits for five days.
Hokkaido had lifted its previous three-week state of emergency on March 19. Elementary, junior high, and high schools in Sapporo will now remain closed until May 6, public facilities will remain closed, and residents are asked to avoid leaving their homes for non-essential purposes.
Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency in seven prefectures last Tuesday, including Osaka and Hyogo (both neighbors to Kyoto) and Tokyo. The governor of Kyoto prefecture stated on Friday that he has asked the Japanese government to add Kyoto to the list of prefectures that are placed under a state of emergency. The governor of Aichi prefecture similarly asked the Japanese government on Thursday to add that prefecture to the list, and then independently declared a state of emergency on Friday.
The seven prefectures will remain under a state of emergency until May 6.
Newly announced people, events, and places affected by concerns over COVID-19 include:
Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Sturgill Simpson revealed on Sunday that he has tested positive for the new coronavirus after going to an emergency room with symptoms one month ago. The Sound & Fury anime set to Simpson's album of the same name began streaming on Netflix in September.
Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) announced on Sunday that a male employee tested positive as of Saturday. The man had a sore throat and slight fever on April 1. After consulting with a medical center, he rested at home, but his symptoms did not improve. He had a PCR test on Thursday and learned the positive result on Saturday. SIE noted that the employee had not gone to its office since before the onset of his symptoms. The company outlined the procedures it has taken to combat the spread of COVID-19, including having most employees work from home and closing and disinfecting the office floor where the infected employee works.
The official website for the television anime of Quro's Asteroid in Love (Koisuru Asteroid) manga announced on Monday that the anime's Special Event scheduled for May 24 has been canceled. Staff noted that they hope to protect the health of everyone involved with the event.
The official website for Touhou Projects' 17th Hakurei Jinja Reitaisai dōjinshi event announced on Sunday that the event has been canceled. The event was originally scheduled for March 22 at Twin Messe Shizuoka, and it was postponed to May 17. However, staff made the decision to cancel the event after Japan's declaration of a state of emergency on April 7.
Lantis announced on Monday that the Lantis and Kiramune labels are delaying product releases due to considerations related to Japan's state of emergency. The delayed works include music CDs and Blu-ray Discs for various franchises including The [email protected], IDOLiSH7, Love Live!, Woodpecker Detective's Office, and Ultraman.
Sony Music Entertainment announced on Monday that it is delaying the release of physical music and video products originally slated to ship between April 22 and May 6. The company had announced on March 28 that a male employee in his 30s had been diagnosed with COVID-19.
The website IGN reported that the United States' Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) and Europe's Pan European Game Information (PEGI) told the website that employees are working from home. The agencies downplayed the possibility that games may be delayed due to delays in ratings. The ESRB told the website that employees have been working remotely since March 16, and it has "seen no delay in assigning ratings." A PEGI representative said working remotely has had "minimal impact" on the agency's operations, and "the impact of the pandemic and the resulting measures has been minimal." The Computer Entertainment Rating Organization (CERO), Japan's video game rating board, had announced last Tuesday that it is suspending all operations including reviews until May 6.
Sources: NHK, Variety (Jordan Moreau), Sony Interactive Entertainment via Hachima Kikō, Asteroid in Love anime's website via Yaraon!, Hakurei Jinja Reitaisai event's website via Hachima Kikō, Lantis, Sony Music Entertainment via Otakomu, IGN (Joe Skrebels) via Hachima Kikō