2020.3.3 Report

Coronavirus in Japan: current status of B2B events

With the first case at the end of December 2019 in the Wuhan region, China, the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has become the main focus of the daily news all over the world. Every day, the news reports an unprecedent rate of new cases, and fear over the new virus is increasing. 

Amidst the Coronavirus, a great number of events are being cancelled or suspended all over the world in order to stop the spread of the Coronavirus.
Not only trade fairs, like the catalyst Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, but sporting and cultural events, such as the Tokyo Marathon, opened only to professionals and the Carnival of Venice.

With Japan also facing rising new cases, some of the biggest trade fairs are being suspended, canceled, or postponed. Companies and event venues are also being sure to take measures to ensure the health and safety of their employees and visitors. 

In this article we will share with you the up-to-date news about how the Coronavirus and all the national safety measures are affecting B2B events throughout Japan. This article will be updated frequently, so we suggest you check it often!

In this article:
1. B2B Marketing and Event in Japan: up-to-date information
2. Business Activities in Japan
3. Announcements from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare
4. Amidst the Coronavirus: Bigbeat Inc. 

B2B Marketing and Event in Japan: up-to-date information

Holding or suspending the event. As a consequence of the lasts disposition of the WHO and the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, the main B2B trade fair organizers are basically taking two different approaches: holding the event or suspending/postponing it. 

Although currently most organizers are choosing to postpone their events, the ones who are choosing to hold their event anyhow, have been sure to notify all the registered attendees about the measures to ensure health safety. 

Here below, you will find an up-to-date list of the main scheduled B2B events in Japan, divide into scheduled as planned and suspended/postponed events. 

•    Scheduled as planned B2B Events

Manufacturing World Japan (Exhibition)
Date: February 26 – 28, 2020

Regarding the novel coronavirus infection: here

Suspended or postponed B2B Events

X Innovation Forum (Japanese only)
Date: February 28, 2020
In order to protect the health and safety of participants and stakeholders, the forum organizers have announced the postponement of the forum.
NIKKEI MESSE Shop, Office, House & Urban Innovation Exhibition Japan
Date: March 3-6, 2020
Regarding the novel coronavirus infection: here
MarkeZine Day 2020 Spring (Conference) (Japanese only)
Date: March 10-11, 2020
Regarding the novel coronavirus infection: here (Japanese only)
Sansan Innovation Project 2020 (Japanese only)
Date: March 12-13, 2020
In order to protect the health and safety of participants, exhibitors, and speakers, the event organizers have announced the suspension of this event.

Business Activities in Japan

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has asked business owners to take safety measures, such as allowing remote work (working from home) or staggered hours to avoid the normally packed trains during rush hours, to avoid the potential spread of the virus.  

Many companies in Japan have found themselves having to opt for alternatives working solutions, such as smart work or staggered hours, as a health and safety measure for their employees. 

The catalysts in Japan have been multinational companies, such as:

•    SONY 
Employees have been recommended to opt for telework or staggered hours. Originally Sony had set the remote work prevision until February 10th, but this limit has been removed.

•    Yahoo Japan
Yahoo Japan has prohibited meetings and gathering of more than 100 people and has encouraged staggered hours in order to avoid the morning and evening rush hours. The company previously set a 5 times per month limit for its employees to work remotely. Nevertheless, this limit has been removed for pregnant employees and employees with chronic illnesses. 

•    Recruit Holdings
As far as possible, all the employees are encouraged to work remotely, and business trips have been limited for only very important issues. As a general rule, in-house meetings and gatherings of a large number of people have been canceled or being held by teleconference. 

Announcements from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare

On January 30th, the WHO, on January 30th, announced an emergency committee gathering of experts and health officials from each Country.
During the committee, they determined the Coronavirus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), due to the continuous expansion.  

Moreover, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare released a set of health safety measures and advices, to contain the potential spreading of the Novel Coronavirus.  

Also, the Japanese government has made several announcements regarding large-scale events

February 26, 2020
The Japanese Government took serious health and safety measures regarding large-scale events. 
In detail,

“The Government believes that these two weeks are extremely important for preventing the spread of infection, and considers large-scale events, such as cultural and sports event, at a high risk of infection.  For this reason, the Government requests, as health and safety measure, the suspension, postponement or reduction in size of large-scale events for the next two weeks”.

Therefore, the organizers of Live Events have been forced to reconsider whether they should hold their event or not. At the current moment, the majority of concerts, as well as, B2C events have been suspended. 

February 20, 2020
Due to the Coronavirus outbreak and the current situation, all the organizers of events have been requested to reconsider the necessity of holding their event, in order to prevent the further spread of the infection. At this stage, the government has not officially forced the suspension of large-scale events.

Moreover, in case of companies still going through with their events as planned, the government has requested organizations to take the adequate measures in order to reduce the risk of infection.
For example, alcohol-based hand sanitizer has been placed inside event venues for the attendees, or organizers have requested those who are coughing or sneezing to refrain from attending in the rare chance they have the Coronavirus. 

February 18, 2020
The attendees of large-scale events have been asked to take appropriate health and safety measures, such as wearing masks, washing their hands, or refrain attending the event in case of symptoms like cold or cough.  

In addition, the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare announced that the strongest measure that should be considered is to postpone large-scale events, in order to prevent the further spread of the Coronavirus.

Amidst the Coronavirus: Bigbeat Inc

After the government’s announcement on February 26th, many large-scale events, as well as many exhibitions have been postponed. And the events that have been held as planned have seen a lower number of attendees than expected.  

A lot of Live B2B Events, scheduled for this week (February 25th), have been held online, or have been suspended/postponed. In the same way, a great number of B2B IT and Marketing Live Events scheduled for February and March will be now held online or are cancelled/postponed. 

A lot of our clients are considering rescheduling their live events: some of them have been already suspended, while others are being switched over to online events that are being streamed. 
Recently, Bigbeat helped a client of ours change from a physical to an online event. Read this successful case study here!

What about Bigbeat? On February 16th our CEO announced that Bigbeat employees should refrain from riding crowded trains and commuting to work during rush hour. We also opted for remote work and staggered hours. In addition, as much as possible, meetings with our clients and partners are being held by Video and Web conference systems.
Thanks to smart working solutions, we are able to still provide quality service to our clients, while protecting our health. 

This article, as well as our social media channels (LinkedIn and Facebook), will be updated frequently with the up-to-date information. So come back for more information! 

Bigbeat Inc. has 25 years of experience in B2B marketing. If your company is interested in hosting a event, developing a digital marketing or communication strategy  in Japan, or if you need further information or assistance, do not hesitate to contact us!