The Consumer Entertainment Supplier’s Association’s Computer Entertainment Rating Organization has been halted by the COVID-19 coronavirus. This is the nonprofit group responsible for assigning age ratings to games in Japan and is the equivalent of the ESRB. Due to the pandemic and Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike’s decision to ask people to shelter in place, operations are being suspended and there will be no CERO ratings assigned to games until further notice.
It all has to do with how CERO ratings are assigned to games in Japan. Everyone on staff handles assignments in the central office only and it is apparently ‘not possible’ for the tasks necessary to properly review these games to occur at home. This means the office, as a whole, is completely closed and no thing will be done until further notice. Note that while Koike’s suggestion is that people remain at home until May 6, 2020, the CERO announcement doesn’t confirm that will be the day its staff will return to work.
Here is the full statement:
The government declared state of emergency regarding COVID-19, and the Governor of Tokyo asked people to refrain from going outside until May 6.
Since reviewers visit our office to conduct review, it is not possible for our staff and reviewer to work from home.
For this reason, all operations, including review (including those under review), will be suspended from today until May 6.
All staff will be on standby at home, and the office will be closed during this time. We will announce the resumption of business on our website.
We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you, and thank you for your understanding.
This could, in turn, end up delaying a number of Japanese games. With no ratings being assigned between April 7, 2020 and an unspecified date in perhaps May or later, we could see digital and physical releases affected. This could, in turn, also lead to the delay of some localizations.