National

Many actors in Japan struggling amid coronavirus outbreak

Jiji

A survey by the Japan Actors Union has found that many of its members are struggling financially during the coronavirus outbreak.

A number of respondents said they have been denied performance and cancellation fees for canceled events, drama shoots and other work, but they are reluctant to take out new government-backed loans for people hit by the COVID-19 crisis, according to interim results of the survey.

The 15-question online survey of actors and voice actors was started March 31 and is still ongoing. It had received 880 responses by last Tuesday.

According to the interim results, 76.3 percent of the respondents were not paid appearance or cancellation fees for events and filming sessions that were called off or postponed due to the pandemic.

Including those who received only a partial payment, the total share of performers who suffered nonpayment in some form stood at 96.2 percent.

With multiple answers allowed, the survey asked respondents why they had not been paid. Slightly more than 32 percent said they felt that they couldn't ask to be paid since it might damage their career in the long run.

A little more than half — 51.5 percent — of all respondents said they intend to draw on their savings to tide them over.

Including those expecting to borrow money, 78.7 percent said they won't be able to make up for their income losses with other revenue sources.

A total of 87.3 percent said they feel reluctant about using the government's lending system to help people suffering lost income due to the pandemic.

Asked why, and with multiple answers allowed, 62.6 percent said they are unsure whether they will have work in the future and 44.4 percent said they do not think they can pay off fresh debts.

Asked what the government should do for people affected by the crisis, some urged the state to give them cash as soon as possible.

A respondent voiced concern that there will be more deaths from the recession caused by self-restraint owing to the outbreak than deaths caused by the virus itself.

The union has submitted the survey results to the Cultural Affairs Agency and a group of lawmakers to ask the government to provide some relief.

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