An imperial garden party scheduled for Nov. 9 will be the last hosted by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, a senior official said Thursday.
As the emperor will be busy before his abdication on April 30, the biannual party will not be held in spring, the Imperial Household Agency's Grand Steward Shinichiro Yamamoto told a press conference.
(The imperial family at a garden party in April 2018)
The emperor's eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito who will succeed to the throne on May 1, will continue to host the garden parties, in which imperial family members exchange greetings and mingle with around 2,000 invited guests, including those from the worlds of popular culture, sports, academia and politics.
But Yamamoto said it would be difficult for the new imperial couple to hold their first official garden party next fall at Akasaka Imperial Garden in Tokyo as a series of important ceremonies and rituals related to the enthronement will take place around that time.
Instead, there will be a garden party for honored guests from foreign countries to celebrate the new emperor's accession. Yamamoto said a government committee in charge of planning the ceremonies will discuss its details.