Coronavirus crisis: cancellation of Japan Day Düsseldorf/NRW 2020 imperative

This year’s Japan Day Düsseldorf/NRW with its Japanese fireworks display over the Rhine cannot take place as planned on 16 May. In light of the spread of coronavirus, the city, state and the Japanese community have cancelled this festival of friendship with regret. The authorities’ current regulations prohibit the staging of the event. Sadly, Japan Day Düsseldorf/NRW 2020 will not be taking place on 16 May or postponed to a later date this year. The next Japan Day Düsseldorf/NRW is planned for 29 May 2021. A decision on the staging of this year’s Japan Business Day on 18 May will be made in mid-April.

Where public festivals such as Japan Day Düsseldorf/NRW are concerned, it must be borne in mind that larger gatherings of people represent a latent and increased risk of infection. Any cancellation of such an event serves to protect the public by reducing the risk of infection. This may delay further infections so that the health care system is not overloaded, ensuring that the necessary capacity for treating those infected by coronavirus, as well as other patients, is available.

Thomas Geisel, Mayor of the City of Düsseldorf: “It has not been easy for us to cancel Japan Day Düsseldorf/NRW 2020. Japan Day is the biggest festival of its kind in Europe and is hugely important for German-Japanese friendship. However, in the current situation, it is not possible to hold this event which is attended by around 600,000 people every year.

Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart, the State of North Rhine-Westphalia’s Minister for Economic Affairs, Digitisation, Innovation and Energy: “Japan Day Düsseldorf/NRW is a festival that has been established for many years and demonstrates the close friendship between North Rhine-Westphalia and Japan. So, naturally, it was a difficult decision to cancel the event but the health of the many visitors is our top priority. Even if, regrettably, we will not be meeting in person this year, we are in almost daily contact with our Japanese friends both in North Rhine-Westphalia and in Japan by telephone and video conference.”

Kiminori Iwama, Japan’s Consul-General in Düsseldorf: “I deeply regret that what would have been my first Japan Day has to be cancelled, but at the present time it is important to take every conceivable measure to stem the spread of coronavirus. We will overcome this crisis together, after which we will resume our preparations. I am already looking forward to organising a wonderful festival of culture and dialogue with all the parties involved – and particularly in light of the upcoming 160th anniversary of German-Japanese relations in 2021.”

The City of Düsseldorf, the state of NRW and the Japanese community jointly stage Japan Day. The partners immediately contacted each other to coordinate the organisation of the event in 2021. Saturday, 29 May 2021 has been set as the date for what will then be the 19th Japan Day.