Emperor's birthday event canceled for second year due to virus surge
Japan Times -- Jan 18
The Imperial Household Agency said Monday it has canceled a public birthday event for Emperor Naruhito at the Imperial Palace for the second year in a row to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The birthday address, which was to be held Feb. 23 to celebrate the emperor’s 61st birthday, was also canceled last year due to the pandemic.

The event was called off because it would be held “at the end of February when it is cold,” while “many people would congregate at the palace,” Kenji Ikeda, vice grand steward of the agency, said at a news conference.

Around 82,000 well-wishers visited the palace for Emperor Akihito’s final birthday address from the throne in December 2018.

- Japan Times

宮内庁は来月23日の天皇誕生日の一般参賀を行わないと発表しました。  寒い時期に多くの人が並んで密集するのを避けるためとしています。  一般参賀は例年、新年と天皇誕生日の2回行われますが、新型コロナウイルスの感染が拡大したことから去年の新年を最後に3回続けて見送られています。  去年の新年の一般参賀には一日で7万人が皇居に集まりました。  皇族方や総理大臣などからお祝いを受けられる皇居内での行事についてはどのような形で実施できるか検討中だということです。 - ANNnewsCH

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