Emperor’s birthday event at the palace to be canceled for 3rd year in a row

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Imperial family members wave to well-wishers on the Emperor’s birthday at the Imperial Palace in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on Dec. 23, 2018, when the Emperor Emeritus was on the throne.

An event to mark the Emperor’s birthday at the Imperial Palace on Feb. 23 will not be held because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Imperial Household Agency has announced.

It is the third consecutive year the agency has canceled the event, at which the Imperial family traditionally waves to members of the public from a balcony at the palace.

The agency also said it would not be observing the custom of putting guest books outside its building for well-wishers to write celebratory messages to the Emperor.