The government has canceled next year's annual cherry blossom-viewing event, organized by the prime minister with taxpayer money, following criticism that Shinzo Abe has used the event to entertain supporters from his home district. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the government will seek to clarify the standards for who gets invited to the event and make the process more transparent. Cancellation of the event for next April effectively amounts to admitting that there were problems in the way it has been organized.

Media reports indicate that the government plans to substantially cut the number of invitees and the amount of funding for the party — both of which have been rising sharply in recent years — while officials deny that the gala, held each spring since 1952, will be terminated. But the question is not the number of attendees or the size of the budget, but whether the viewing party is organized in ways that serve its intended purpose. If the government is reviewing how the gala is organized, it should look into whether it really needs to continue to hold such an event.

The cherry blossom-viewing party has been held every year (except when it was canceled under special circumstances) since Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida organized the first in 1952 to honor the accomplishments of people from various fields. In 2010, when the Liberal Democratic Party was out of power, the Democratic Party of Japan-led administration of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama continued the tradition.