TOKYO, April 22 — This year’s Tokyo Motor Show has been cancelled for the first time ever because of the coronavirus, Japan’s auto industry group said today.

The biennial car show — one of Japan’s biggest industrial events — had been scheduled for the autumn, after the Tokyo Olympics take place this summer.

The last Tokyo Motor Show in 2019 drew around 1.3 million people, according to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA).

But this year’s event was cancelled because “it is difficult to offer our main programme in a safe and secure environment”, said JAMA chairman Akio Toyoda, also head of Toyota.

Japan is facing a surge in Covid-19 cases driven by more infectious variants, with another virus state of emergency expected to be imposed in Tokyo and other major cities.

The pandemic is also playing havoc with the postponed 2020 Olympics, which are set to begin on July 23.

Sections of the public torch relay have been scrapped and several test events and qualifiers cancelled or postponed. — AFP