Coming a full circle from last year, the second wave of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has already claimed its first motor show for 2021. Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda, who also chairs the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) ruled out the possibility of doing the show virtually saying that the primary purpose of the show was to have visitors experience the latest in automotive technology in person. With the resurgence of the virus, along with it the possibility of hosting visitors in a safe environment, the association have decided to skip the show entirely.

The Tokyo Motor show was first held in 1954, and once every two years since, making this first show to be canceled in the history of the event. With Japan also experiencing a surge of COVID-19 infections, the decision to not move ahead is the only responsible option.

It remains to be seen whether the association will continue the biennial chronology, or just reboot from next year, but we do know that the next edition of the event will be rebranded as mobility show. This comes as part of a strategy change on the part of the association so as to include a more diverse spectrum of mobility solutions from across the board. Some shows in China, where the spread of the virus is relatively contained, have gone ahead. The Beijing Motor Show was held in September 2020 after being postponed for five months, and this year’s Shanghai Motor Show began on April 19.

Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics, meanwhile, insist the event — due to start in late July — will take place but are still weighing restrictions on domestic spectators. International spectators will be barred. Last week, a senior member of Japan’s ruling LDP party said cancelation was “an option.”