Interpets, Japan's biggest annual pet show, is canceled for 2020 as the contagion of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country continues to rise. Instead of holding its tenth iteration this month (March), organizers have set the next Interpets for April 1–4, 2021.
Show organizers Messe Frankfurt Japan Ltd., the Japan Pet Food Association and the Japan Pet Products Manufacturers Association reached the decision following a rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases in Japan that prompted its health minister to advise the public to avoid overcrowded gatherings that are not that essential.
Show organizers’ statement and plans
“After serious discussions among the fair organizers, and in consultation with our stakeholders, we have come to a difficult decision to cancel the 10th anniversary edition of Interpets,” said Mako Yamamoto, executive director of Messe Frankfurt Japan Ltd. “We have strived to make the upcoming fair the best edition to date. However, under the current situation, where the prospects for effective countermeasures against the new coronavirus are uncertain, we have placed the health and safety of our participants as top priority.”
The show’s website has a statement on its homepage reading, “Please be informed that we have decided to cancel Interpets 2020 (Tokyo) in response to the spread the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) recently. It is with great regret that we cannot welcome all of you this year. We really hope that the situation get better as soon as possible and to see you at Interpets 2021.”
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Japan rose to 274 as of March 3, in addition to the 706 diagnosed from the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked at Yokohama Port, according to reports. Twelve patients have died, including six from the international cruise ship.
But not everything is lost as show organizers are still hoping to push through with the inaugural edition of Interpets' sister event Interpets Aichi on November 21–22. Aichi is a key pet market in Western Japan that Interpets organizers believe can benefit from what the show offers.
Launched in 2011, Interpets showcases pet food and other pet-related products and services, providing a platform where new ideas and business can be developed. The 2019 edition had 481 exhibitors from 23 countries and regions and a record-breaking 44,114 trade visitors from Japan and other parts of the world.