Japan faces a busy diplomatic schedule at home in 2019, hosting visits by foreign dignitaries for international events as well as a series of rites related to Crown Prince Naruhito’s accession to the Imperial throne.
International events in Japan will include the summit of the Group of 20 major advanced and emerging economies, to be held in the nation for the first time, as well as the rugby World Cup finals, and the Tokyo International Conference on African Development, or TICAD.
The challenge of managing the whirlwind of high-level diplomacy, which a senior Foreign Ministry official has referred to as “the 2019 issue,” is looming large for the government. “We will do all we can so the Emperor’s abdication and the Crown Prince’s enthronement will be held flawlessly with the blessing of the people,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a meeting of government and ruling coalition officials on Monday.
Emperor Akihito will step down on April 30, 2019, and his eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito, will succeed him the following day. The new Emperor’s Enthronement Ceremony is expected to be held in the autumn of that year, with leaders from overseas in attendance. The main event for the enthronement will be “sokuirei seiden no gi,” a ceremony to proclaim him Emperor.
After Emperor Akihito ascended the throne in 1989, the proclamation ceremony was held on Nov. 12, 1990, attended by heads of state and other leaders from a total of 158 nations and regions. The participants included Indonesian President Suharto, Britain’s Prince Charles and U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle.
Diplomatic protocol makes it difficult for the government to host the same foreign leaders on multiple occasions in a short span of time. “Coordination to set up summit meetings, along with arrangements for security measures, will certainly take lots of hard work,” a senior official at the Foreign Ministry said. “We need to secure staff by mobilizing personnel from our diplomatic missions abroad.”