Suga Says to Scrap State-Funded Cherry Blossom Party
Tokyo, Sept. 16 (Jiji Press)--New Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Wednesday that he will not hold a state-funded cherry blossom-viewing party next year and later following the cancellation of the event this spring.
"As I took office as prime minister, I'd like to cancel the event next year and later," Suga told his inaugural press conference.
He noted that the cherry blossom party has drawn criticism as the number of guests grew during the long reign of his predecessor, Shinzo Abe, who was prime minister for nearly eight years until his official resignation on Wednesday.
Last year, Abe came under fire for inviting many of his supporters to the state-funded spring event. In response, Suga, as chief cabinet secretary of the Abe administration, announced the cancellation of this year's party.
At the press conference, Suga said that he decided to no longer seek funds for the event under the government's budgets as his administration needs to put efforts into bringing the novel coronavirus epidemic under control.