Fireworks displays and other summer events were canceled months in advance by organizers on Friday, joining the long list of gatherings scrapped over the new coronavirus.
The casualties included the annual Sumida River Fireworks Festival in Tokyo, which was brought forward to July 11 to avoid clashing with the 2020 Olympics. The event, which normally falls on the final Saturday of July, draws around a million spectators to the river each year. The organizers said they decided to cancel early as close contact would have been inevitable.
Around 22,020 fireworks were to be fired during this year’s event. The date for next year is already being discussed, the organizers said.
In Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, the mayor announced that the annual Nagaoka Festival Grand Fireworks Show set for August had also been canceled.
The event, dating back to 1879, is one of Japan’s top fireworks shows. The Nagaoka show drew a record 1.08 million visitors to the two-day event last year.
Major festivals in the northeast are also being called off. These include the Tanabata Festival slated for Aug. 6 to 8 in Sendai, which usually attracts more than 2 million people, and the Nebuta Festival in Aomori from Aug. 2 to 7.