Japan is the world’s third-largest box office market, right after North America and China, and it is currently preparing to re-open its cinemas this weekend after a lengthy coronavirus shutdown. Toho Cinemas, the country’s biggest movie theatre chain, has announced that it will once again open its doors to ten of its venues on Friday, 10th May.

None are in Tokyo, however, and there is currently no information of any cinemas opening in the capital this weekend.

Toho is prepared with a series of COVID-19 preventative measures: encouraging anyone with virus symptoms to stay away or to contact a staff member, should they feel ill during their visit; all employees will be wearing masks and gloves; the use of automatic ticket machines to avoid physical contact will be encouraged, along with regular handwashing; ventilation will also be increased, and an empty seat will be kept between each sold seat for the sake of social distancing. Sofas and communal tables have also been removed from the lobby areas.


Aeon Cinemas, another major Japanese chain, has confirmed it will resume its activities at 27 movie theatres in 16 regions, starting 18th May and with similar preventative measures as Toho Cinemas.

The Japanese government recently said that they were looking to gradually lift the countrywide lockdown, which has been rather soft while compared to other nations. Said lockdown lift will surely begin in certain parts of the country where the infection rate has been decidedly slower. The return to a semblance of normalcy will take longer, however, and each step will be taken with great caution.