Asia Minute: COVID-19 Forcing Changes in Japan

Feb 28, 2020

Japan's government plans to close all public schools in the country for more than a month. Word of that decision comes as the coronavirus continues to cause complications around the region.


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says public schools in the country will be closed starting Monday, and won't re-open until Monday, April 6th. The prime minister said Thursday that "the next week or two will be crucial in fighting the coronavirus outbreak." Some schools have cancelled or scaled back graduation ceremonies.

COVID-19 is even hitting the country's race tracks. On Thursday, the Japan Racing Association announced its horse races will go ahead. But as of this weekend, without spectators.

Pre-season baseball games are being played in empty stadiums — no word yet on plans for the regular season, set to open on March 20th.

A much bigger focus for sports fans and government officials alike is the Tokyo Olympics — scheduled to get underway in late July. The president of the International Olympic Committee told Japanese media in a conference call on Thursday that the IOC is "fully committed to a successful Olympic Games in Tokyo starting July 24th."

Japanese financial markets have been hit hard — along with others around the world. 

So has the broader business community.

The South China Morning Post cites a study by Tokyo marketing research company TSR, showing more than two-thirds of some 12,000 companies it survey have already been affected by the coronavirus — or expect they will be.