Since the quarantine of the Diamond Princess, Japan has gone from being one of the world’s most at-risk countries to lucky outlier, to being again fearful of COVID-19 getting out of control.
At the time of writing, the last 24 hours saw the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike strongly advising people to stay at home after a jump in recorded COVID-19 cases, and a resurgence in panic buying in the capital. Who knows what next week will bring? As far as the arts are concerned, the last month has seen various galleries and museums going from temporary closure to suspended animation, with reopening dates being put back indefinitely.
The timing of when venues closed has partly been a matter of whether they are private or public institutions. Large government-funded venues, such as The National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo, and The National Art Center Tokyo shut up shop at the end of February — that was within a few days of being asked by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), through its Agency for Cultural Affairs, to close voluntarily.