Coronavirus Scare Affects Fan Meet-and-Greets in Japan

Society Culture Lifestyle

Tokyo, Feb. 10 (Jiji Press)--The outbreak of the new coronavirus has forced athletes and idols in Japan to postpone or modify their meet-and-greet sessions as they seek to avoid infections among themselves and fans.

The nation's Rugby Top League told its players to bow or wave their hands at fans during the "greeting time" session after matches, instead of shaking hands. "We will continue this method for the time being," a Japan Rugby Football Union representative said.

Major talent agency Johnny & Associates Inc. postponed fan meetings scheduled for this month and March, in which two all-male idol units, SixTONES and Snow Man, were slated to high-five fans.

Popular idol group AKB48 also postponed a handshaking event with fans that was scheduled to take place on Feb. 1 in the city of Osaka, western Japan. "We prioritized the health of our fans and group members," the all-girl unit said on its official blog.

The effects of the coronavirus scare have also affected amusement parks. According to the operator of Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, the theme parks in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, have reduced the number of physical interactions such as hugs that their mascots have with guests, in favor of hand waves.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press