Photo/IllutrationFrom left: Crown Princess Masako, Crown Prince Naruhito, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko greet visitors on Jan. 2 at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

  • Photo/Illustraion

Japan's new emperor will greet well-wishers for the first time on May 4, three days after he ascends the Chrysanthemum Throne.

The Imperial Household Agency on March 4 announced plans to allow the public to celebrate the enthronement of Crown Prince Naruhito on palace grounds more than five months earlier than initially scheduled.

Emperor Akihito, who is set to abdicate on April 30, and Empress Michiko are not expected to attend the event.

The public’s congratulatory visit to the Imperial Palace was originally scheduled for Oct. 26 after the “sokuirei seiden no gi” ceremony on Oct. 22 to proclaim the enthronement of Naruhito and to receive felicitations of representatives from home and abroad.

However, the agency said it will be better for Naruhito to have a chance to greet the public earlier. Officials said it will be convenient for people to visit the palace on May 4, which is in the middle of 10 consecutive holidays in Golden Week.

On May 4, Naruhito will appear on the veranda of the Imperial Palace’s Chowaden hall with other imperial family members to respond to the large crowds expected to flock to the East Gardens to congratulate him.

The agency is considering having Crown Princess Masako, who will become the new empress, Prince Fumihito, who will become the crown pricess, and Princess Kiko, who will become the crown princess, join Naruhito on the veranda, among other imperial family members.

The “taiirei seiden no gi” ceremony will be held to proclaim the abdication of Akihito on April 30.