Dwango announced on Wednesday that it is canceling its Nico Nico Chō Kaigi and Tō Kaigi conventions due to the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Both conventions would have taken place at Chiba's Makuhari Messe venue during the April 18-19 weekend.
As a replacement for these conventions, Dwango's Nico Nico streaming service and the telecommunications company NTT will host an online Nico Nico Net Chō Kaigi event from April 12 to April 19. The online campaign will stream musical performances and other events live from Makuhari Messe. In the meantime, Dwango is offering refunds for tickets and crowdfunding campaigns for the two conventions.
Nico Nico Chō Kaigi is Nico Nico's largest real-world event of the year. Every April since 2012, everyday users of the service and other organizations present exhibits, performances, and other attractions in various genres such as music, anime, games, politics, and sports. Tō Kaigi is Dwango's convention that focuses specifically on games. It ran every January or February from 2015 to 2019, but Dwango had decided to hold it on the same weekend as Nico Nico Chō Kaigi this year.
In a separate development, Tokyo Disney Resort announced on Wednesday that both "Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea will remain closed through early April out of consideration for the health and safety of our guests and cast members." It added that it is postponing the Grand Opening for the Tokyo Disneyland theme park's new areas, which include a new Beauty and the Beast area and Big Hero 6's Baymax Happy Ride, from April 15 to "mid-May or beyond." The two theme parks had already been closed from February 29 until March 15.
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said on February 27 that the government is asking elementary, junior high, and high schools to close until the end of spring break in early April to contain the spread of COVID-19. The government is also encouraging children and others to stay home and avoid large gatherings for the next few weeks. In March, venues and events such as Tokyo Disneyland/DisneySea, Universal Studios Japan, Sanrio Puro Land, NAMJATOWN, and AnimeJapan are canceled or temporarily closed.
The first reported cases of COVID-19 were in Wuhan, China in December, and then the disease began to spread in varying rates and intensities across many parts of the globe through incubation in human hosts. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a world health emergency on January 30. As of Tuesday, the WHO reported that there are 113,702 infected individuals worldwide, with 80,924 of them in China. 3,140 individuals have died from the disease in China, and 872 have died outside China. The WHO raised its global risk assessment over the virus from "high" to "very high" on February 28.
As of Tuesday, the WHO reported that Japan has 514 cases of COVID-19 with nine deaths. These numbers do not include the number of cases from the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama. That cruise ship had 696 infected passengers and seven deaths.
Update: The Japanese government asked organizers of large events to cancel or modify their plans for 10 more days, beyond the original window of mid-March.
The Universal Studios Japan theme park is extending its closure, originally planned from February 29 to March 15, until March 22. It will consider any future announcements from the government to decide when it will reopen, and will announce any decisions as soon as they are made.