[Update, Mar 24] You can watch the award ceremony live right now.
In a joint statement issued on February 25, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants and Saga Prefecture said they have made the reluctant decision to cancel this year’s on-ground program in Japan. Instead, a live-streamed online awards ceremony will be held on Tuesday March 24 to announce this year's list of the 50 best restaurants in Asia.
This comes just months after the exciting announcement that the 2020 Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards would be held in Saga, Kyushu Prefecture.
‘After consultation with the governor of Saga prefecture, 50 Best feels it has no alternative but to reformat the awards ceremony and related events on this occasion,’ says the press statement, a shorter version of which was posted on the event’s Instagram feed.
Since launching in 2013 as a subset of the World's Best 50 Restaurants Awards, Asia's 50 Best Restaurants Awards have been held in Singapore, Bangkok and Macau. The 2020 ceremony would have been the first time the awards were held in Japan, and an opportunity to highlight a little-known but gastronomically impressive region of the country. But with the awards just a month away and no end in sight for the Covid-19 coronavirus situation, the organisers had to take precautionary measures.
‘This is an extremely difficult decision for us, as we very much wanted to support the restaurant industry across Asia, which has suffered from the side-effects of the coronavirus situation in recent weeks. However, it has become clear… it would not be responsible to stage our events as planned,’ says Charles Reed, CEO of William Reed, the company behind 50 Best.
At the 2019 Asia's 50 Best Restaurants Awards, Japan was home to a total of 12 awarded restaurants, including Den, Florilege, Narisawa, Nihonryori RyuGin and L'Effervescence – so no doubt all eyes will be turned to the 2020 awards, whatever the format may be.
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