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K-pop star Kim Jae-joong cancels schedule amid public uproar over making April Fools‘ Day joke about coronavirus

K-pop group JYJ's Kim Jae-joong (CJes Entertainment)
K-pop group JYJ's Kim Jae-joong (CJes Entertainment)

K-pop group JYJ’s Kim Jae-joong canceled his schedule in Japan after criticism for announcing he had the new coronavirus as an April Fools‘ Day joke.

Kim released his third Japanese single “Brava Brava Brava” in March and was scheduled to promote the album by appearing on several music shows in Japan.

Kim’s agency CJes Entertainment on Friday announced that due to the current situation Kim would not appear as scheduled on TV Asahi’s music show “Music Station.”

The 33-year old K-pop star was also supposed to appear on NHK Radio 1’s music program “Furuya‘s POP A,” on Thursday but had to cancel his schedule.

Korean TV channel Life Time’s reality travel show “Travel Buddies” also said that it was considering whether to broadcast the last episode, which is set to be aired Saturday.

The series of cancellations came after Kim on Wednesday made a joke about being confirmed as corona patient. On the same day, he also posted that it was a joke and explained his intention.

“I posted a joke but I do not think it is only an April Fool’s day joke. I did it to alert people,” he posted on his social media account Wednesday, while apologizing.

The joke has triggered public anger as many considered it as neglecting the seriousness of the situation. Over 13,000 people signed a petition asking authorities to punish Kim for making the joke on a government online public petition platform.

Responding to the public’s outrage, Kim on Wednesday once again posted a more formal apology on his Instagram account.

“I sincerely apologize to the government, medical staff and people who are following the government’s guidelines to overcome the coronavirus situation for upsetting their feelings,” Kim said on his post.

The government, however, said there were not any laws to punish Kim for the jokes he made.

“If a person lies to epidemiologists or medical staff during an epidemiological investigation or medical treatment, they may be punished according to the infectious disease prevention law,” Yoon Tae-ho, a senior Health Ministry official who is in charge of quarantine work, said during a press briefing on Thursday. “(For Kim’s case,) it does not apply to both cases.”

Yoon added that people should be considerate when posting about the coronavirus on social media.

Kim debuted as a member of K-pop boy band TVXQ in 2013 and immediately rose to fame. Kim left the band after a contractual dispute with SM Entertainment and formed a separate group, JYJ, with two other members in 2010.

By Song Seung-hyun (