The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan says that the bishops have not made any sweeping or mandatory prescriptions on the virus outbreak, and the matter is left to the discretion of individual diocesan bishops.
“The CBCJ is not in a position to issue such directives as the situations vary in dioceses and the dioceses are taking necessary measures accordingly,” said Satoh.
Additionally, the CBCJ went on to say that decisions on the matter are not in any way influenced by the Japanese authorities. Churches are making precautionary choices by their own judgement.
“The CBCJ is not in contact with the Japanese government to decide what to do on Masses,” said Satoh.
As of March 10, 587 people in Japan have contracted coronavirus, and 10 have died.
Other religions’ places of worship in Japan have also closed temporarily, including mosques. Native Japanese religions -- Shinto and Buddhism -- do not have weekly obligations of attendance and have been less impacted by the outbreak.
The Archdiocese of Osaka, led by Cardinal Thomas Aquino Manyo Maeda suspended March 13th public Masses yesterday, and is expected to introduce additional measures this week.