Asia News: Elisa, Lai Kuan Lin, Japanese Tourism Ban

Elisa Leaves Management Over Sexual Harassment Claims
In a highly unusual move for a Japanese musician, singer Elisa, who debuted in 2007 and has mostly made a career singing songs for animated films, has terminated her contract with her management company due to sexual harassment. 
According to the magazine Shincho Elisa has accused her personal manager of ongoing sexual harassment that culminated in an incident where the male manager tried to force himself on her. After reporting the incident to her management company, Smile, the president called in a lawyer to investigate the matter. 
Though the lawyer eventually confirmed that the incident happened the way Elisa described it, the company concluded that it amounted to a “lovers’ quarrel,” adding that talent often have affairs with their managers, so no action was taken. As a result, Elisa quit the management company and also terminated her recording contract with Sony. 
Though sexual harassment is known to be common in Japanese show business, this is the first instance of a female artist talking publicly about the matter. Moreover, artists who unilaterally quit their management companies almost always face blacklisting in the industry, since no other management company will likely take them on, and without such representation it is next to impossible to get work.
K-Pop Star Caught In Taiwan-China Tensions
International Business Times reports that Lai Kuan Lin, a Taiwanese singer who used to be a member of the K-Pop boy band Wanna One, has been criticized for celebrating China’s National Day on a variety show broadcast by the government-run China Central Television network. He also sang a popular Chinese song during the show.
Due to the problematic relationship between Taiwan and China, which claims that Taiwan is an integral part of the People’s Republic, most Taiwanese artists do not appear in China showing their support for anything related to the Chinese government. 
In the wake of Lai’s appearance on the show, Taiwanese fans are reportedly in an uproar, especially since Lai had previously posted on social media that he supported the police in the political demonstrations taking place in Hong Kong. 
As it turns out, Lai is already quite popular in China based on his work with Wanna One, which called it quits in 2018. He has since remained active in China, mainly as a commercial spokesperson for a skin care product. He also appeared in a Chinese TV drama and has worked in China as a model. There were also rumors that he would become a member of a Chinese boy band that was about to debut. 
It has been obvious for some time that Lai recognizes Taiwan as part of China. However, it wasn’t until these sentiments became clear by his appearance on Chinese TV that most Taiwanese became aware of it. Such incidents may yet increase since tensions between China and Taiwan, whose current leadership has reasserted the island’s independence, are at their most strained. 
As it stands, Chinese artists are popular in Taiwan and Taiwanese artists are popular in China, but whenever some kind of cross-Taiwan Strait exchange takes place, politics and loyalties are avoided. It’s actually forbidden for Taiwan artists to celebrate China’s National Day in any official way. 
Taiwanese pop stars Ouyang Nana and Angela Chang are also facing fines for appearing on a National Day TV program on the mainland. The two singers joined in renditions of two patriotic songs, one about fighting the coronavirus, according to the South China Morning Post. 
Prior to the appearance, Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture warned the two singers that they would be violating Taiwan law, which could result in fines equivalent to $17,000. It is still not clear if the ministry has decided to punish the two women. China’s Global Times later “mocked” the ministry for its hard-hearted attitude, while a number of Taiwanese politicians insisted the two singers be punished. 
As it turns out, Ouyang, who studied music in the U.S., has already courted controversy by saying publicly that she is proud to be “Chinese,” and usually cites the mainland as her home rather than Taiwan. Ouyang’s father is a Taiwanese politician who has refused to comment on his daughter’s activities. Chang has also cultivated a career in China, like Lai. Their main sin seems to be stating openly their loyalty to the mainland at the expense of their ties to Taiwan.

Rich Polk/Getty Images for Capitol Music Group
– SuperM
Taemin, Kai, Taeyong, Baekhyun and Ten of SuperM perform onstage during SuperM Live From Capitol Records in Hollywood at Capitol Records Tower on October 05, 2019 in Los Angeles,

K-Pop Acts Reportedly Synching Releases For U.S.
The K-Pop fan site Allkpop has reported that major K-Pop acts are now timing their digital releases for the United States rather than South Korea. 
Normally, K-Pop acts release new songs at 6 p.m. Korea Standard Time in order to take advantage of Korean chart ranking rules, but the new releases by top acts BTS, Blackpink and SuperM have taken place at 1 p.m. Korean Standard Time, which also happens to be midnight Eastern Standard Time in the U.S. 
The idea is to qualify for the charts in America as quickly as possible and gain greater international visibility. As Allkpop explains, such acts do not really have to worry about making the charts in Korea, so the timing of the release there is not so important, but they want to make the most of their entry on to related pop charts in the States. 

Japanese Government Begins Lifting Tourist Ban
The Japanese government has announced that it is devising ways to lift the in-bound tourist ban that has been in effect since the advent of the coronavirus pandemic. The ban would be lifted starting in spring 2021, so that by the time the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games started in the summer, most foreigners from outside of Japan holding tickets would be allowed to attend. 
According to Jiji news service, a consultation center will be set up exclusively for foreign tourists who are asked to provide information about their health condition via a smartphone app that they would download from Japanese consulates and embassies in their home countries. They will also be required to undergo testing right before they leave for Japan and buy private medical insurance in case they come down with an infection during their “journey.” 
Upon arriving in Japan they would undergo testing again and those whose tests come back negative will be allowed to attend the Olympic Games. In such cases, the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for anyone entering the country at present would be waived.