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The Japanese music industry has been hit particularly hard by the global outbreak of COVID-19. Ever since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe requested on Feb. 26 that organizers of large public events consider postponing or canceling gatherings in order to curb the spread of the virus, the country’s music world has existed in limbo.

After speaking casually with some people working in the industry, it’s apparent that many of them currently have less to do. What has increased is uncertainty. Nobody knows when large-scale shows will resume, and plans for the year have been thrown off course by the pandemic. Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike’s recent call for people to avoid live houses and nightclubs further underlines the difficult situation artists and music companies find themselves in.

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