Asia News: S. Korea Lifts Outdoor Mask Mandates, Rare Beatles Budokan Video To Air

This photo taken on June 30, 1966 shows British band The Beatles, (L to R) Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison and John Lennon, performing during their concert at the Budokan in Tokyo. – A group of Japanese Beatles fans on October 30, 2018 have lost their bid to get police to hand over historic footage of the band’s legendary 1966 Japan visit. (Photo by JIJI PRESS / JIJI PRESS / AFP) / Japan OUT (Photo credit should read JIJI PRESS/AFP via Getty Images)


S. Korea Lifts Outdoor Mask Mandates

South Korea lifted its mask mandate Sept. 26 for “large outdoor gatherings,” in light of a steady decline in the number of new cases of COVID-19.

Previously, any outdoor gathering of more than 50 was subject to the mandate. However, masks are still required for large indoor gatherings, at least for the time being.

The change would do much to encourage foreign fans of the K-pop band BTS to visit in mid-October for the group’s free concert in the southern city of Busan to promote the city’s bid for the 2030 World Expo.


Rare Beatles Budokon Video To Air

After more than 50 years, special footage of the Beatles’ visit to Japan in 1966 to play at Budokan Hall in Tokyo will be released publicly, albeit slightly edited.

According to Yomiuri, a non-profit organization has tried for years to get the footage released through Japan’s information disclosure guidelines, but the national police agency has refused to release it citing security concerns.

The footage, which runs a little more than 35 minutes and contains no sound, chronicles police efforts to safeguard the Beatles and the public during the famous concerts, which took place from June 30 to July 2, 1966. More than 30,000 police officers were deployed to provide security during the tour.

According to reports, the footage contains scenes of “lines of uniformed police officers standing in the Budokan during one concert,” and a discussion between police and men in a sound truck protesting the concerts.

One expert said the footage has special value, since it shows how anxious the authorities were about bringing the world famous band to Japan at a time when civic unrest was considered a problem.

The non-profit group first discovered the existence of the footage in 2014 and has pressed for its release ever since. It finally succeeded after filing a lawsuit and several appeals. Eventually, the police released the footage after blurring the faces of private citizens and security personnel who show up on the film.