Local government leaders in central Japan on Monday condemned the organizer of a hip-hop music event held the day before in Aichi Prefecture for its lax measures against COVID-19 despite pledging to follow anti-corruption guidelines. -infectious established by the live concert industry.
According to the Aichi prefectural government, around 8,000 tickets had been sold for the event, Namimonogatari2021, held at a convention center in Tokoname, which its organizer said is one of the biggest outdoor music events in the world. Japan, bringing together hip hop, rhythm and blues artists.
The music event Namimonogatari2021 takes place on August 29, 2021 in Tokoname, Aichi Prefecture, central Japan. (Photo courtesy of a participant)(Parts of the photo have been pixelated for privacy reasons)(Kyodo)
“No social distancing was observed near the scene and some alcoholic beverages were sold on site. It is extremely unfortunate that our security requests were not followed,” Aichi Governor Hideaki Omura said during of a press conference.
The prefectural government began implementing business restrictions on August 8, including asking major event organizers to refrain from selling alcohol. Tightened restrictions under the state of emergency declared for the entire prefecture on Friday set an audience cap for major events at 5,000.
Event organizer Nagoya-based office keef Co. says the annual music event has been taking place since 2005. In accordance with event guidelines posted on its website, attendees were asked to wear masks , stay at least 1 meter apart and refrain from shouting. . The company originally planned to sell 10,000 tickets for this year’s event.
Aichi Gov. Hideaki Omura speaks during a press conference in Nagoya on August 30, 2021. (Kyodo)
Omura said the prefectural government would protest the organizer’s failure to implement infection control measures and would no longer allow the company to use public facilities in the prefecture.
Aichi officials later said a protest letter was sent to the company, asking it to report on how COVID-19 measures were taken at the site.
The organizer released a statement saying members of the public did not observe social distancing despite repeated reminders of infection control guidelines through the main display screen and speakers.
At one point, a host of the event warned people against removing their masks, he said.
The company said preparations to implement COVID-19 measures at such a significant event should have been better and that it “deeply apologizes for causing any trouble”.
As for alcohol sales, the organizer said he had notified the prefecture in advance that certain drinks he had already purchased from suppliers would be sold during the event, with sales limited to two servings per person.
Tokoname Mayor Tatsuya Ito said during Monday’s city assembly session that he would also send a protest letter to the event organizer.
“It was an extremely pernicious event in which none of the safety guidelines were followed,” Ito said.
Japanese hip-hop artist Zeebra, who performed at the event, said in a post on Twitter, “I played Namimonogatari yesterday because I was told that the rules set by the prefectural government would be monitored (on site), but it was a dangerous environment.
Japan is struggling to control a rapid spike in coronavirus infections, with 21 of the country’s 47 prefectures currently under a COVID-19 state of emergency.