Snow sculptures are lit up at Odori Park in Sapporo, Hokkaido, on Feb. 4, 2020, the first day of the annual Sapporo Snow Festival. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Sapporo - Sapporo Mayor Katsuhiro Akimoto said Thursday the northern Japan city will forgo exhibiting snow sculptures at its annual Snow Festival scheduled in February for the first time in its 71-year history due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The city will consider holding the event, dating back to 1950, in an online form, though the details are yet to be decided, the mayor said.

The event's organizers previously said they were considering holding the festival on a reduced scale and without large snow sculptures.