Ainu Center Opening in Hokkaido Postponed due to Coronavirus

Society Culture

Tokyo, April 7 (Jiji Press)--The opening of "Upopoy," a new Japanese national center featuring the culture of the Ainu indigenous people, has been postponed for about a month to May 29 amid the coronavirus pandemic, tourism minister Kazuyoshi Akaba said Tuesday.

The center, located in Shiraoi in the northernmost Japan prefecture of Hokkaido, was initially slated to open on April 24. Its opening ceremony was also rescheduled from April 18 to May 23.

No coronavirus case has been confirmed in Shiraoi while the pace of infections in Hokkaido has been slowing, according to the tourism ministry.

Still, the government is concerned that the opening of the center will increase tourist traffic, raising the risk of infections as coronavirus cases have been surging in some other regions in Japan, officials said.

"We'll make utmost preparations" to actively promote the center once it opens, Akaba told a news conference in Tokyo.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press