Japan cancels Emperor’s birthday public celebrations amid virus fears – Details

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Japan said on Monday it would cancel a public gathering to celebrate the birthday of new Emperor Naruhito, as fears grow over the spread of the new coronavirus in the country.

“In light of various situations, we have decided to cancel the visit by the general public to the palace for His Majesty’s birthday,” the imperial household agency said in a statement a day after the government warned people to avoid crowds and “non-essential gatherings.” 

“His Majesty’s appearance in the morning, as well as the public signing of the greeting book, will be cancelled.”


At least 60 people in Japan have so far been diagnosed with the virus, with Health Minister Katsunobu Kato warning on Sunday that the nation was “entering a new phase” of the outbreak.

“We want to ask the public to avoid non-urgent, non-essential gatherings. We want elderly and those with pre-existing conditions to avoid crowded places,” he said.

The birthday gathering on February 23 was cancelled as local media reported that the amateur section of the Tokyo Marathon, scheduled for March 1, would be cancelled.

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