• Kyodo


Due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus, the government decided Wednesday to cancel court banquets to be held in April for Crown Prince Akishino in celebration of his elevation to first in line to the chrysanthemum throne.

The crown prince was scheduled to hold buffet-style banquets for some 750 international guests on April 21 after formally announcing his new status in a ceremony on April 19.

“We were left with no choice but to cancel it from the standpoint of containing the spread of the virus,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a meeting on imperial succession ceremonies.

The government also decided to scale down the main parts of the Rikkoshi no Rei ceremonies for the proclamation of the crown prince by limiting the number of guests it would invite to about 50.

The ceremonies, which originally included the banquets, will be the last in a series of official events held for the imperial succession after former Emperor Akihito abdicated on April 30 last year.

Emperor Naruhito’s subsequent enthronement left three heirs to the throne — the crown prince, the crown prince’s 13-year-old son Prince Hisahito, and Prince Hitachi, the 84-year-old uncle of the emperor.

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