Japanese Physical Music and Film Shipments Surprisingly Strong in Q1
Japanese Physical Music and Film Shipments Surprisingly Strong in Q1

The disastrous 8.9-magnitude earthquake that occurred Friday in northeastern Japan, as well as the resulting tsunami and nuclear reactor disruption, have profoundly affected every segment of Japanese society, including the music industry.

While there was little material damage to Tokyo, the train systems immediately shut down, paralyzing all businesses on Friday. By Saturday things appeared to be returning to normal but a series of reactors overheating and exploding at nuclear power plants in Fukushima prefecture, about 250 miles north of Tokyo, returned the overall situation to crisis level.

Train service was reduced on Monday, as people queued in lines as much as 100 yards long for their normal commutes to central Tokyo. The government urged people to stay home from work on Monday.

Responding to the government's request as well as the rolling blackouts implemented in parts of the country and the nuclear plant explosions, companies -- including music retail, venues and manufacturing -- have begun voluntarily limiting operations.

On Saturday March 12, for example, the Tokyo-based Tower Records Japan closed 23 of its 85 stores and changed the operating hours of 11 of them, according to Tower Records Japan General Manager Tatsuro Yagawa. By Monday, with mandated rolling blackouts to conserve energy implemented, 27 outlets were shuttered. Yagawa said the company will study the situation and continue to close outlets as necessary. He declined to offer an estimate on lost revenue for one of Japan's leading CD retailers.

Sony Manufacturing, as was reported in an earlier Billboard.biz story, suspended operations at their CD, DVD and Blu-Ray disc manufacturing plants.

The touring front has also been affected. The Tokyo-based promoter Creativeman Productions announced that Iron Maiden performances had been canceled on Saturday the 12th and Sunday the 13th at Saitama Super Arena. Creativeman also announced that the final two Murder Dolls shows on Saturday and Sunday, at Liquid Room and Club Quattro in Tokyo had been canceled. A show by Annihilate at Shibuya AX on Sunday was also canceled.
On Saturday, the National took to Twitter to broadcast to their fand the cancelation of their Singapore and Tokyo shows. "So sad we have to cancel our shows in Singapore & Tokyo," the group's tweet read. "Our thoughts & prayers are with everyone in Japan. We hope to reschedule soon."

Another Tokyo-based promoter, Smash Corporation, announced that Jack Johnson´s remaining shows scheduled from Monday the 14th at ZEPP Sendai, Tuesday the 15th at the Tokyo Budokan, Thursday the 17th at ZEPP Fukuoka, and Saturday the 19th at Shinkiba's Studio Coast in Tokyo had been postponed.

In addition the Smash-produced Japan shows of Fran Healy, with performances at Osaka's Club Quattro on March 14th and Tokyo's Akasaka Blitz on March 16, were canceled.

Smash released the following statement from Fran Healy: "I'm very sorry to hear the terrible news from Japan today. Our thoughts are with the Japanese people at this time. Due to the earthquakes and Tsunami in Japan the shows in Osaka, Tokyo, Seoul and Taipei in March have been cancelled. I hope to reschedule these shows in the near future."

Smash noted that Naeba, Niigata prefecture, the site of Fuji Rock Festival, was not affected.