Several Japanese game companies have restricted employee travel to the United States for this year's E3. For Osaka-based game maker Capcom, the basis for this decision was "travel restrictions".
The cause: H1N1 Influenza 09, aka Swine Flu. "Our Capcom guys are not coming to E3 because of the Japanese government restrictions," said Capcom's Chris Kramer, Senior Director, Communications and Community. "The company is taking the advisory very seriously." This decision has killed Dead Rising 2's eagerly awaited appearance at E3.
According to the Japanese government, there currently are no travel restrictions. A representative from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) told Kotaku that the government's advice to those traveling from Japan to the United States is: "Be careful."
Japanese airlines ANA and JAL confirmed that there were only quarantines in place at Narita Airport and Kansai Airport, which serve Tokyo and Osaka. "If an infected passenger is found on the plane, those sitting in the surrounding seats will be quarantined," a representative from ANA said. "The infected passenger will be checked into a hotel for a span of time."
This decision on the part of Capcom (and Koei, for that matter) could have been made earlier this month when there was less information about the virus. These companies could also be concerned about their employees getting infected and then having to be quarantined for an extended period of time. We don't doubt that these decisions were made with the best interest of their employees in mind.
The Japanese government, however, is beginning to restrict airport quarantines. "It's an issue of man power," the MOFA rep said. "We only have some many people, and we must refocus our efforts on containing the domestic spread of this virus and not quarantining passengers at airports." The threat of the virus is no longer coming from outside Japan, but it spreading inside the country.
E3 will continue as planned, it seems. "We are in close contact with health authorities and they have given the show a green light," ESA president Mike Gallagher told Kotaku. Meanwhile, many of those Japanese game developers who won't be at E3 continue to take public transportation in an region where the virus has exploded.
Japanese companies SEGA, Tecmo and Sony have stated that H1N1 Influenza 09 has not impacted their decision to attend this year's E3.