National

Japan firms limit customer contact, aiming to prevent spread of deadly coronavirus

Kyodo

A number of companies across Japan have disclosed in turn moves to try and prevent further spread of 2019-nCoV, the new coronavirus that originated in China, with the postponement of celebrity meet-and-greet events and suspension of services such as makeup application at cosmetics stores.

Oriental Land Co., operator of Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea theme parks in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture, decided Friday to reduce visitor contact with some costumed characters until further notice. The characters will also be told not to stay too long in any one place, the company said.

Signs were put up on a pedestrian bridge that links Tokyo Disneyland and its closest train station, encouraging entrants to use hand sanitizer stations set up inside the park.

Haruna Masaoka, 16, a first-year high school student from Saitama Prefecture, said people were still lining up in front of characters at Tokyo DisneySea to take photos. “I was surprised to see the crew at the attractions wearing masks,” she said.

Regarding the exceptionally restrictive conditions, Twitter users grumbled that “it couldn’t be helped” and that while they didn’t want to lose the opportunity to get close to the characters, they also didn’t want guests or park staff to get sick.

On Thursday, idol group AKB48 postponed a meet-and-greet in Osaka that had been scheduled for Saturday. “We made the decision by giving maximum priority to maintaining the health of our guests and the group members,” the organizer of the event said.

On Saturday, talent agency Johnny & Associates wrote on its website that all the events planned in February and March for Sixtones and Snow Man, two boy bands which debuted on the same day in January, would be postponed.

The two groups had been due to host special meet-and-greet events in Sapporo, Tokyo, Osaka, and Fukuoka for people who had purchased their debut singles and applied for the chance to attend. Notices revealing the lucky winners have also been delayed, and the new tour schedule will be announced later on the company’s event website, Johnny’s said.

Cosmetics giant Kose Corp. announced Friday that its makeup service and any other services requiring direct contact between customers and staff in stores would be suspended until further notice. Kose staff are also expected to wear masks and disinfect their hands before and after attending to customers.

At the Akita Dog Visitor Center tourist attraction in Odate, Akita prefecture, petting dogs has been banned since Thursday. A staff member stated that this was due to uncertainty over whether dogs can become infected.

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