The Emperor and Empresses’ spring visit to the UK has been postponed until further notice following the outbreak of the new coronavirus and the worsening of the situation in the UK, according to reports from NHK News.

Dick Thomas Johnson | ©

The couple were originally scheduled to visit Britain in early May after accepting an invitation by Queen Elizabeth II. The trip would have been their first overseas journey after Naruhito ascended to the Chrysanthemum Throne towards the end of last year. Had the plans gone ahead, the trip was intended to last about a week with the couple planning to stay at London’s Windsor Castle.

In addition to the postponement of the royal visit, Japanese officials who were originally scheduled to visit Britain, to arrange security and the imperial couple’s itinerary, have called off any current plans.

Furthermore, a banquet that was to be held as part of a ceremony that proclaims Crown Prince Akishino (Fumihito) as heir to the throne has been cancelled by the Japanese government over concerns of the virus. The Japan Times quotes the Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, as stating “We were left with no choice but to decide on the cancellation from the standpoint of containing the spread of the virus”

The Royal Household states that the imperial visit to the UK would have been the third State trip of Japanese Royals hosted by Queen Elizabeth II, who has previously hosted visits of His Majesty the Emperor Emeritus (Akihito) and Her Majesty the Empress Emerita (Michiko) in 1998 and Emperor Showa (Hirohito) and Empress Kojun (Nagako) who visited the UK in 1971.

The Emperor Emeritus and The Empress Emerita have visited the UK during two other similar occasions, once in 2007 as part of a three day UK visit and in 2012 where the Emperor Emeritus attended a luncheon to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

In addition to all of the international visits from the Japanese Imperial family to the UK, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh visited Japan in May 1975 during the reign of Emperor Showa.

By - Connie Sceaphierde.