In an announcement Thursday night, the orchestra scrapped performances from March 6-11 in Fukui, Sakai, Hiroshima and Tokyo. It cited a recommendation from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that major cultural events be canceled for the next two weeks.
"After multiple consultations with officials at U.S. government agencies and recommendations from the Japanese government, it became clear that these evolving circumstances are beyond our control," NSO executive director Gary Ginstling said in a statement.
The NSO is based at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and hopes fill the void in its schedule with orchestra and chamber music in the Washington area. The Boston Symphony Orchestra canceled an Asian tour from Feb. 6-16 that had included performances in Seoul, South Korea; Taipei, Taiwan; Shanghai and Hong Kong.
The COVID-19 illness caused by a new type of coronavirus has sickened tens of thousands of people, most of them in China. Japan and South Korea also have been hard hit among Asian countries.