The 2021 Tokyo Motor Show has been officially cancelled over a significant rise in COVID-19 cases in Japan’s capital city.
The situation is so bad at the moment that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Sugae is considering declaring a state of emergency in Tokyo, as Coronavirus numbers soar past 800 cases per day.
Toyota president Akio Toyoda, who also acts as the chairman of the motor show’s organiser - the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, told media the event couldn’t feasibly be run without posing a significant risk to its patrons.
"The Tokyo Motor Show is being cancelled, not delayed,” Toyoda said. "It’s difficult to hold the event in a way in which many people will be able to experience the appeal of mobility in a safe and secure environment.”
It’s the first time the motor show won’t be happening since its inception in 1954, and it’s yet another blow to the automotive industry’s 2021 auto show calendar.
Toyoda also stated that when the Tokyo Motor Show returns, it will do so with a different name, which brings it more into line with the increasingly varied modes of personal transportation being employed across the globe.
"The next time, we would like to hold an improved event to be called Tokyo Mobility Show. We would like to ask for your continued support,” Toyoda said.
Toyoda also threw cold water on the prospect of running the event as a digital-only show.
"The Tokyo auto show showcases motorbikes, minicars, large vehicles, passenger cars, as well as mobility vehicles of other industries," he said.
"As such, we would like to prioritise having visitors experience these vehicles in the real world, and we would rather hold the event in the real world, not virtually. So, we have decided to cancel the event.”
The news comes just three months before Japan is due to host the 2021 Summer Olympics, which has led some to speculate that the sporting event could be on the verge of cancellation.
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