Ainu Center Opening Postponed Again due to Coronavirus

Politics Culture

Tokyo, May 8 (Jiji Press)--The opening of "Upopoy," a new Japanese national center featuring the culture of the Ainu indigenous people, has been postponed again due to the unabated novel coronavirus epidemic, tourism minister Kazuyoshi Akaba said Friday.

The center, located in the town of Shiraoi in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido, was initially scheduled to open on April 24. But the opening was put off to May 29 on April 7, when the Japanese government declared a state of emergency over the epidemic.

The new opening date has yet to be determined.

Akaba told a news conference that he hopes the center will open after a private viewing for local residents in June if the declaration is lifted.

Upopoy is an Ainu term meaning "singing in a large group." The facility named after the term was developed at the state initiative to promote the culture of the indigenous people under a new Ainu law that came into force in May 2019.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press