The government is considering to postpone this month’s Rikkoshi no Rei ceremonies, meant to proclaim Crown Prince Akishino’s rise to first in line to the throne, due to the spread of the new coronavirus, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Friday.
The possible delay comes after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency over the virus on Tuesday. The ceremonies were scheduled to take place at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on April 19.
The government will decide a new date for the ceremonies, while closely monitoring the virus’s spread, sources familiar with the matter said.
Initially, the government planned to hold Rikkoshi Senmei no Gi, the main proclamation event, Choken no Gi, in which the Crown Prince will meet with Emperor Naruhito, his older brother, and Kyuchu Kyoen no Gi banquets as Rikkoshi no Rei ceremonies.
The government has already canceled the banquets to prevent the spread of the virus. But Rikkoshi Senmei no Gi and Choken no Gi were slated to be held as scheduled while reducing the number of people invited.
Rikkoshi no Rei is the last in a series of ceremonies and rituals related to Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement in May last year.
The government has said that it will start discussing ways to ensure stable imperial succession once Rikkoshi no Rei is finished.