COVID-19: Japan Cancels Emperor Naruhito's Birthday Public Celebrations Amid Coronavirus Fears
Naruhito (Photo Credits: AFP)

Tokyo, February 17: Japan said 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." COVID-19 in Japan: US Evacuates American Passengers from Diamond Princess Cruise Ship as China Death Toll Climbs to 1,700.

"His Majesty's appearance in the morning as well as the public signing of the greeting book will be cancelled."