Former MEGADETH guitarist Marty Friedman, who has been living and recording music in Japan since 2003, spoke to SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk" about how the Asian country is handling the coronavirus crisis. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I don't think it was ever as serious as what I heard going on in L.A., where almost everything is closed and things like that. It's actually really been fine as far as convenience and normal life. The only thing that's not normal is the limiting of events where a lot of people show up and doing concerts. There are some agencies that do them and some agencies that don't do them. And it's really just a matter of the policies of the agencies that are willing to take those risks."
Marty, who completed a short Japan tour in January, continued: "Believe me, it felt great to finish an actual tour with absolutely no problems — all safe; everybody was happy; [we] followed all the regulations. There's a lot of regulations for things, but I think there's nothing like a real strict lockdown here, like in some countries, with curfews and things like that. This all being said, we're far from being cured from COVID here. The vaccine is not really a thing yet like I hear it is in America, and it seems to be working very well. I'm not educated enough on the issue to know anything about it, really, but I can just tell you that it's not uncomfortable here in Japan, but I definitely do miss international travel. And that's about the size of it. Everything else is really pretty much normal over here."
According to Japan Today, only around 3 percent of Japan's population of 126 million has received at least one shot of vaccine.
The country's rollout of COVID-19 vaccines didn't begin until mid-February, months behind the United States and many other countries.
Marty's latest album, "Tokyo Jukebox 3", received a North American release on April 16 via The Players Club/Mascot Label Group. The record, which was made available in Japan last October, is the third in a series that began with "Tokyo Jukebox" in 2009, and then "Tokyo Jukebox 2" following in 2011. The trilogy presents Friedman's inspired performances to Japanese repertoire he's chosen to cover.
Marty has spent the last few years working on a documentary called "Spacefox". The film, which is being directed by Jeremy Frindel, the founder of Substratum Films, follows Friedman's reinvention from lead guitarist in MEGADETH to one of the most famous TV personalities in Japan.