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Japan lifts cheering restrictions on concerts

The Japanese government is relaxing its ban on cheering at concerts after announcing it is to reclassify Covid-19's disease status

By James Hanley on 30 Jan 2023

image © Pexels/Wendy Wei

The Japanese government is relaxing its longstanding ban on cheering at concerts and sporting events after announcing it is to reclassify Covid-19’s disease status.

From 8 May, coronavirus will be downgraded from class Class 2 to Class 5 – the same tier as seasonal flu – in the country, with residents told to use their own judgement when it comes to mitigation measures, including mask-wearing.

“With the change in categorisation, the nation’s Covid-19 measures will change from one where government agencies make various requests (to people and institutions) and intervene, to one that respects the choices of individuals, like in response to seasonal influenza,” says a statement by the infectious disease panel, as per the Japan Times.

“The government will need to make detailed explanations of its basic view and changes to be brought on by the reclassification, and provide necessary information.”

“Some in the audience will probably keep masking up, while others won’t”

Under the current restrictions, which will be lifted immediately, cheering is permitted only at venues where attendance is limited to 50% or less of capacity. Music venues have been able to operate at 100% capacity as long as audience members “wear masks, keep their voices down to conversational levels, and cheer or sing along for less than a quarter of every song”, reports Nikkei Asia.

“Some in the audience will probably keep masking up, while others won’t,” says Masashi Kondo, head of the Live House Commission trade group. “It’s hard to respond unless there are clear standards, so I hope the government will provide an explanation based on science.”

It was revealed last month that concert-goers in Japan could require government-issued ID cards to attend gigs under plans being considered by the government to help combat ticket touting.


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