CERO, the Computer Entertainment Rating Organization for Japan, has announced that it’s suspending all business. The suspension will last from April 8 until May 6 at least but potentially much longer, and staff will be on standby at home. This suspension is the result of Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, declaring a state of emergency for Tokyo, where CERO is based, but also for Osaka, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Hyogo, and Fukuoka. The state of emergency has been put in place as part of the ongoing efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the region.
Residents are being urged to stay at home, and it is expected that by reducing contact between people by 70-80 percent, infection rates will soon drop. Abe has asked that everyone cooperate with the state of emergency and the request to stay home. Currently there is nothing in place to allow law enforcement to fine residents who leave home without a valid reason, like there is in France. It’s expected that most residents and businesses will follow the rules.
The biggest blow with this suspension of CERO will be an inevitable delay of a number of game releases. Ratings are needed for packaging to be produced for physical releases, but even games that will only release on digital stores receive a rating before they are sold.