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Decorations to be announced 1 month later due to imperial succession

Japanese Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako arrive at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo to attend a dinner with Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko on the evening of Feb. 24, 2019, following a ceremony marking 30 years of the emperor's reign. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The Japanese government said Tuesday it will announce recipients of spring decorations conferred by the emperor on May 21, about a month later than usual so as to come after Crown Prince Naruhito ascends the throne.

The Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe approved the postponement from April 29, deeming it preferable to go through a set of procedures under the new emperor, who will be enthroned on May 1 following the abdication of Emperor Akihito the previous day.

It will be the first time that an announcement of recipients, recommended by the Cabinet and approved by the emperor, has been delayed since the current honors system was introduced in 1964.

The government said it will be a one-off exceptional measure and the announcement schedule for decorations given in the fall will remain unchanged.

Recipients of the decorations are announced on April 29 and Nov. 3 every year and award ceremonies are held shortly afterward. About 4,000 individuals with distinguished accomplishments in various areas are selected each time.

Some of the decorations are handed to recipients by the emperor himself in conferment ceremonies. All recipients gain an audience with the emperor.

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