The entire SMAP concert in Shanghai is in danger of being cancelled after it was revealed yesterday that concert ticket sales have been stopped since September 19, it was revealed yesterday, reports Yomiuri Shinbum, Sports Hochi, and Sponichi Annex.
Although details about why ticket sales in shops and over the internet had been cancelled have not been released, fans have been saying it is due to the diplomatic row between China and Japan that was sparked after collisions between two Japanese patrol boats and a Chinese trawler on September 7.
It has been reported that currently, representatives from Johnny’s & Associates and organisers in China are discussing what to do next. It is expected that the agency will announce their decision within the month.
The two group’s are making SMAP’s safety a priority, but in the current situation organisers have said it would be extremely difficult to run the concert because protests outside the concert stadium would be imminent. Whether Japan decides to arrest or release the Chinese captain from the boat collision may seal the fate of the concert.
Retailers in Shanghai selling the concert tickets had said they did not know why SMAP concert ticket sales were stopped, and even representatives from Johnny’s & Associates had said they had heard nothing about why ticket sales had been temporarily cancelled.
SMAP’s Shanghai EXPO performance in June had been cancelled after fears it could send fans into a panic. In August, the group announced they would perform concerts in Shanghai, which was expected to attract more than 80,000 fans. Since then the members had been updating fans about rehearsals and how they were learning to sing one of their songs in Chinese for them.
At SMAP’s concert in Tokyo on September 15, the Chinese ambassador to Japan 程永華 had made a special appearance.
“From the bottom of my heart I wish you all great success with your Shanghai concert,” he said.
It has been reported that even after the concert, group members talked with the ambassador and had taken photos with him.
Although SMAP member Takuya Kimura had said their project in China was, “something politics can’t do, our role is to interact with people from their core,” the group’s fate now depends on the political issues between the two countries.