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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 January 13 - 19  >  Shii eager to create 'culture and arts recovery fund' with cross-party effort
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2021 January 13 - 19 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Shii eager to create 'culture and arts recovery fund' with cross-party effort

January 15, 2021
The group called "#We Need Culture" which consists of persons involved in music, theater, and film made representations to the Japanese Communist Party on January 14, following the government pronouncement of a state of emergency.

Claiming that with further restrictions on cultural events "culture and the arts in Japan are facing a crisis of existence", they demanded that long-term support and compensation for losses due to voluntary postponement and cancellation of events be provided.

In response, JCP Chair Shii Kazuo said, "The JCP in a supra-partisan way will work to establish a 'culture and arts recovery fund' with a budget of hundreds of billions of yen."

Playwriter Setoyama Misaki told Shii that more than 70% of artists surveyed answered that their income "fell by half" and 30% answered they "feel like dying".

The manager of a live-music house said, "There is no compensation to freelance sound operators and lighting technicians for cancelled events. We may set ahead the starting time in accordance with a government request to close by 8 p.m. but not many customers will be able to come because of their jobs. Actually, there is no other choice but to shut down the establishment for a while."

Nishihara Takashi, film director, said, "Both major cinema complexes and mini-theaters are open until 8 p.m. now. So, they are suffering a steady decline in their income. The current budget for the Agency of Cultural Affairs cannot save theaters."

Shii said, "Culture and the arts are essential for anyone's life. If all mini-theaters disappear, Japanese artistic culture will have no future," and again expressed his determination to work together with other opposition parties to create a "fund".

* * *

Four organizations in the music industry on January 12 released a statement appealing their plight caused by accumulated losses associated with the postponement and cancellation of performances.

According to the government guidelines, the capacity for live events should be limited to 5,000 persons or the occupancy rate should be less than 50%, and all performances should finish by 8 p.m. as much as possible during the state of emergency.

The four organizations (Japan Association of Music Enterprises, Federation of Music Producers Japan, All Japan Concert & Live Entertainment Promoters Conference, and Music Publishers Association of Japan) in their statement stated, "We have a mission to give artists and performers places to express themselves in order to make people happy. We also have a responsibility to ensure the livelihoods of those who engage in culture and artistic activities and their family members."
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