The health ministry on Feb. 20 urged the public and event organizers to rethink the necessity of holding large-scale events due to the risk of spreading the deadly coronavirus.

But the ministry deferred on calling on people to avoid all large events.

The COVID-19 outbreak has led to a slew of cancellations of events nationwide, inconveniencing job-seeking college students and sports fans among others. 

Recruit Career Co., which operates the Rikunabi website to provide job information for students, on Feb. 20 announced the cancellation of all job fairs scheduled for March.

The company had planned 81 job fairs in Tokyo and 43 prefectures for college students expecting to graduate in spring 2021.

But it decided that “even if every possible measure were taken, the risk of infection would not be completely prevented,” a company official said.

Recruit also scrapped events for students scheduled in Tokyo and Osaka Prefecture on Feb. 22, Miyazaki Prefecture on Feb. 24 and Kagoshima Prefecture on Feb. 26.

The company said it will discuss what to do about events scheduled in April and later.

Concerns over the coronavirus have also forced changes to plans for competitions in the capital tied to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

The Japanese Para-Sports Association has canceled the boccia ball Japan Para Championships events set to start Feb. 28 in Tokyo, a test event for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

Organizers of the Nagoya Women’s Marathon scheduled for March 8 have barred the public from running in the event.

The marathon is a qualifier for a member of the Japanese national team for the women’s marathon at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The marathon's elite section, in which invited runners participate, will be held as scheduled.


The J.League soccer season, set to kick off on Feb. 21, is expected to proceed as planned, but J.League Chairman Mitsuru Murai said the league will consider altering its schedule and holding games without spectators.

The league is scheduled to have a break during the 2020 Tokyo Games in the summer, but Murai said some matches may be postponed and held during that time.

“The situation has changed from moment to moment and gotten serious,” he said.

The risk of infection rises if people “stay in a closed environment or other locations for a certain period of time without maintaining a sufficient distance from each other,” the health ministry's statement warned.

The ministry asked event organizers to consider if events they plan to hold fit that description and take precautions.

Event organizers should also encourage participants to wash their hands, make alcohol antiseptic available and ask people with cold-like symptoms to stay home, the ministry said.

Though the ultimate decision on holding an event is in the hands of organizers, the ministry said if the outbreak worsens it may reconsider issuing an advisory calling on the public to avoid attending them.