The Japanese government is postponing the Rikkoshi no Rei ceremonies which were due to take place this month. They would have proclaimed Crown Prince Akishino’s as first in the line of succession but have been put off to a later date due to the Coronavirus crisis.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency over the virus on 7 April and the ceremonies were scheduled to take place at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on 19 April. A new date will be set by the government as it monitors the spread of the virus.
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 banquets had already been cancelled by the government but the other ceremonies were still meant to go ahead with fewer 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 had also intended to start discussing ways to ensure a stable imperial succession after the Rikkoshi no Rei ceremonies, but that has now also been postponed. Emperor Naruhito has a daughter – Aiko, Princess Toshi – who is not in the line of succession. The Crown Prince has a son – Prince Hisahito – who is second in the line of succession. The 84-year-old uncle of Emperor Naruhito, Masahito, Prince Hitachi, is third and last in the line of succession.