Difficulty in Gathering Security Staff, Similar Situations Occurring Across Japan
On January 20th, in Fukui Prefecture’s Sakai City, an executive committee for the Mikuni Fireworks Festival, which was scheduled to take place on August 11th, was announced to be suspended for this year. The reason stated was the inability to guarantee sufficient security measures, due to the event overlapping with the schedule of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. Because of the Tokyo Olympics, many fireworks festivals across Japan are being suspended one after another.
The Mikuni Fireworks Festival is the largest fireworks festival in the Hokuriku region, with the number of visitors surpassing 200,000. Every year on August 11th, the event is held at the Mikuni Sunset Beach; last year had the 39th occurrence of the event. With around 10,000 fireworks launched in the air, including the popular “underwater fireworks” and 2-shakudama (a large-scale firework) fireworks, approximately 235,000 spectators gathered for the 2018 event.
The Tokyo Olympics will take place from July 24th to August 9th, while the Paralympics will take place from August 25th to September 6th. As a result, obtaining security and operational staff has become an arduous task, and taking the matter of safety into consideration, the executive committee decided to suspend the fireworks festival. Acquiring rental equipment, such as portable toilets, has also become an issue.
“ Due to being unable to guarantee safety and security, hosting the event would be difficult,” explained the executive committee, recalling past major incidents across the country; in particular, there was an incident during a fireworks festival hosted in Hyogo Prefecture’s Akashi City, where a pedestrian bridge for the spectators collapsed, resulting in the death of 11 people.
The effects of security staff shortages due to the Tokyo Olympics can be seen nationwide; notable fireworks festivals suspended includes Chiba Prefecture’s Teganuma Fireworks Festival, which can reach crowds nearing 400,000 spectators, and Kanagawa Prefecture’s Kamakura Fireworks Festival, which has a history of being held over 70 times.
Currently, no other significant fireworks festivals within Fukui Prefecture have been suspended for the upcoming summer season.