TIFFCOM, the content market that runs in tandem with the Tokyo International Film Festival each Fall, will remain an online-only event in 2022 for the third consecutive year, organizers confirmed Thursday.

TIFFCOM shifted to the virtual format in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe, driving most major film festivals and markets online. TIFFCOM’s decision to stick with the virtual approach this year, however, stands in contrast to festivals and film industry conventions throughout the West, which have begun to come together again as in-person events. Even South Korea’s Asian Film Market, held alongside the Busan Film Festival, is expected to return as a physical, convention center-style confab in 2022.

TIFFCOM’s approach likely reflects the continued difficulties of foreign travelers entering Japan. Although the country no longer requires hotel or home quarantines for returning residents, individual tourists can only enter if they are part of a recognized tour group and business travelers require temporary visa sponsorship from a local business partner. The number of foreign visitors to Japan in 2021 fell to 245,900, the lowest number since 1964 when such data first began to be tracked.

Nevertheless, in contrast to the market, the Tokyo International Film Festival says it is committed to working through whatever travel restrictions remain this fall. Organizers say they plan to stage a full-scale physical edition in 2022, with substantial numbers of international filmmakers and guests in attendance.

The Tokyo festival, running Oct. 24- Nov. 3, will again be held in the upscale Ginza area where it moved last year, while TIFFCOM takes place in the cloud Oct. 25-27.

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