Imperial New Year Greetings Canceled amid Pandemic
Tokyo, Nov. 27 (Jiji Press)--Japan’s Imperial Household Agency said Friday it has decided to cancel the 2021 New Year greetings by the Imperial Family to visitors at the Imperial Palace in central Tokyo due to the spread of the new coronavirus.
It is the first time for the family’s New Year greetings to be canceled since 1990 following the death of Emperor Hirohito, posthumously called Emperor Showa, in 1989.
Every year on Jan. 2, members of the Imperial Family appear on the balcony of the palace multiple times to offer New Year greetings to large crowds of visitors.
Since the start of the Heisei era in 1989, at least 50,000 people visited the palace each year to receive New Year greetings from the Imperial Family. The agency decided to cancel the event next year as it judged that congestion among visitors cannot be avoided.
The Imperial Family also greets the general public at the palace on the Emperor’s birthday. Visits to the palace to celebrate Emperor Naruhito’s birthday in February this year were canceled at the last minute due to concerns over crowding amid the virus outbreak.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]