LONDON, United Kingdom – A state visit to Britain this spring by Japan’s emperor has been cancelled because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Buckingham Palace said on Thursday.
The decision was taken following consultations between the British and Japanese governments, with the visit now set to be held at “a later date”, the palace said in a statement. (READ: Queen retires to Windsor, reviews Japan state visit)
“Her Majesty The Queen has agreed that, in the current circumstances, the planned State Visit to the United Kingdom in Spring 2020 by Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan should be postponed,” it added.
The postponement comes as Britain ramps up measures to try to contain the spread of the COVID-19 disease, which has killed 104 people inside the country.
The government announced on Wednesday it would be closing schools in the coming days and placing 20,000 troops on standby.
Japanese Emperor Naruhito, who became the head of the world’s oldest monarchy last April after his father Akihito’s historic abdication, had been due to visit Britain in the spring and his wife Empress Masako.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters: “We were making arrangements hoping that the visit to Britain will take place in the second quarter of this year.
“But given the situation of the global spread of infections of new coronavirus, we will coordinate again by discussing with the British government.” – Rappler.com