Swine flu cancels Avex concerts

Virus spread calls off six shows by top Japan artists

TOKYO -- Industry-leading record label and management company Avex has canceled concerts by highly popular artists due to the swine flu outbreak in Western Japan. The H1N1 virus has spread in the Kansai (Western Japan) region much quicker than in the Tokyo area.

So far Avex has canceled six concerts by three of its most popular artists, Ayumi Hamasaki, Kumi Koda an Ai Otsuka. The performances would have attracted an estimated 48,000 fans.

Originally the label had planned to provide anti-bacterial disinfectant to patrons at the entrance and mouthwash in the bathrooms, but in the end Avex thought the risk was too great.

Rescheduled dates for the six shows have yet to be announced.

Previously, the swine flu outbreak led to the rescheduling of shows for the boy band Kansai Johnny's Junior, an act based in Western Japan and handled by the powerful management company Johnny's & Associates. The teen outfit was to play four shows on May 23 and 24.