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Summer music event Rock in Japan Festival 2020 canceled over coronavirus

A message from the organizing office of Rock in Japan Festival announcing in a its cancellation in 2020 is seen.

HITACHINAKA, Ibaraki -- Rock in Japan Festival 2020, one of Japan's largest music festivals, which is held every summer in this city northeast of Tokyo, has been called off due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to a May 15 announcement from its organizers.

Although they had previously announced in April that plans were in place to hold the event between Aug. 8 and 10, it was decided that "hosting the event this year will be difficult." The office gave reasons including that they would have to "take specific preventative measures against infection for performing artists and staff members," and that there are "problems arising from festival-goers from outside Ibaraki Prefecture attending by train, tour bus and other transportation methods, among other issues." Hitachi Seaside Park, the venue for the festival, has also been under extended closures.

On their official website, Rock in Japan's facilitators said, "The three-day period after these troubling, unusual times was supposed to be a celebration, bursting with positive energy to help us return to ordinary life. It is with great disappointment and regret that we were unable to realize that wish."

Rock in Japan Festival began in 2000, and was canceled mid-event in its inaugural year due to a typhoon, but this cancellation marks the first time in its history it has been called off in advance. As one of Japan's premier summer festivals alongside Fuji Rock Festival and Summer Sonic, Rock in Japan 2019 saw some 340,000 people take part over its five day run.

(Japanese original by Kenichi Omura, Web Operation/News Flash Group)

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