TOKYO – Highlights of Japan-related events for April 29-May 5:
April 29 (MON)
— Showa Day, a national holiday.
— Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to return from eight-day trip to France, Italy, Slovakia, Belgium, United States and Canada.
— National judo championship to be held at Nippon Budokan.
April 30 (TUES)
— Emperor Akihito to become first Japanese monarch to abdicate in over two centuries. The 85-year-old emperor, who has reigned since January 1989, expressed his desire to step down in rare video message in 2016, citing concerns that he might not be able to fulfill official duties due to his advanced age. In 2017, the Japanese parliament enacted one-off legislation enabling him to abdicate.
May 1 (WED)
— Crown Prince Naruhito to ascend throne. The 59-year-old will inherit imperial regalia and seals, and meet heads of the government, legislature and judiciary at ceremonies to be held at the Imperial Palace. On the occasion of his birthday in February, he voiced his readiness to explore new possibilities as emperor while carrying on the legacy of his parents, along with his wife, now Empress Masako.
— New imperial era, Reiwa, to begin to coincide with new emperor’s ascent. On April 1, the government unveiled new era name or “gengo,” which is used during an emperor’s reign. Reiwa, translated as “beautiful harmony,” is taken from the “Manyoshu,” Japan’s oldest poetry anthology dating back more than 1,200 years, and is the first era name deriving from a Japanese classic rather than Chinese as was customary in the past.
— The government starts its annual “Cool Biz” campaign. The initiative launched in 2005 encourages workers to dress casually to help reduce energy use and calls for setting air conditioners at 28 C.
May 2 (THURS)
— Asian Development Bank’s annual meeting to be held in Fiji through Sunday. Japan will be represented by Finance Minister Taro Aso, who is scheduled to hold trilateral discussions with his counterparts from China and South Korea on sidelines of ADB gathering.
May 3 (FRI)
— Constitution Day, a national holiday.
May 4 (SAT)
— Greenery Day, a national holiday.
— Emperor Naruhito to greet public at Imperial Palace. The new emperor and empress are expected to appear on palace balcony with other members of imperial family. Imperial Household Agency opens palace to the public on limited occasions, such as New Year’s Day and emperor’s birthday.
May 5 (SUN)
— Children’s Day, a national holiday.
— Rush of travelers returning from domestic and overseas trips during Japan’s unprecedented 10-day Golden Week holiday to peak.