In Japan, world’s longest-running TV cartoon show switches to re-runs as coronavirus halts production

Millions of Japanese viewers of the world`s longest-running animated cartoon TV show will have to make do with re-runs from next week after the coronavirus pandemic disrupted production, Fuji Television Network said on Sunday.

Aired every Sunday since 1969, the ‘Sazae-san’show features the everyday ups and downs of suburban Japanese housewife Sazae and her extended family, is a household name for many generations. It can still attract around 10% of the viewing audience, according to some estimates, for its 30-minute slot at 6.30 p.m. on Sundays.

While the number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths has been low in Japan by some international comparisons, the Japanese economy – the world`s third-largest – has been seriously hit by the global repercussions of the pandemic and is expected to have sunk into a recession in the second quarter of the year.

Earlier this month the government extended the country`s state of emergency to the end of May as part of efforts to stem the spread of the virus, prolonging shutdowns for many businesses.

On Saturday, long-running manga publication Big Comic said its ruthless hitman series ‘Golgo 13’would take the first hiatus in its 52-year history as social restrictions to contain the virus have made it difficult to produce the hand-drawn cartoon.

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