Rice has been harvested at two sites in Japan to prepare for the Daijosai, or Great Thanksgiving Ceremony. The ceremony in November will be one of the key events to mark Emperor Naruhito's ascension to the throne.
The crop was harvested on Friday at two chosen paddies -- one in Tochigi Prefecture in the east and the other in Kyoto Prefecture in the west.
Arrangements are believed to be underway for US Vice President Mike Pence to visit Japan in October to attend the enthronement ceremony of Emperor Naruhito.
US officials and other sources say that the US government is preparing for Pence to attend the October 22 event. It serves as a formal announcement for the accession that took place in May.
Emperor Akihito is set to abdicate at the end of Tuesday, bringing an end to the three-decade-long Heisei Era. His son, Crown Prince Naruhito, will ascend the throne immediately after.
Emperor Akihito's abdication ceremony will be held at the Imperial Palace in the early evening. The Prime Minister will convey gratitude to him on behalf of the public. The Emperor will then give his last words to the people in his current role. It will be the first time in over 200 years that a living Emperor will abdicate.
A departure ceremony for two senior Self-Defense Force officials was held at Japan's Cabinet Office on Tuesday. They are leaving on a multinational peacekeeping mission in the Sinai Peninsula.
This will be the first time for Japan to take part in such an operation outside the UN framework. Security legislation that was enacted in 2015 enables the country to do so.
The Japanese government has officially decided to hold Emperor Akihito's abdication ceremony on April 30 as an act of state stipulated under the Constitution.
The decision over one of the ceremonies related to the Imperial succession was made at a Cabinet meeting on Friday. The abdication ceremony will be the first of its kind in the history of Japan's Constitution.