Message from the Emperor

Courtesy of the Imperial Household Agency
The Emperor, Empress and Princess Aiko pose for a New Years photo

The Emperor and Empress issued a pre-recorded New Year’s message for the second year in a row because the public event that is usually held at the Imperial Palace on Jan. 2 was canceled again this year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The following is the full text of the statements, as translated by The Japan News.

— Message from the Emperor

This year as well, I am unfortunately not able to deliver this message directly to members of the public gathered at the Imperial Palace, to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Therefore, I would like to send you a video message, as I did last year.

The novel coronavirus has raged in the last year, infecting and claiming the lives of many people both at home and abroad. I would like to express my deepest condolences for those who died. I also would like to convey my heartfelt sympathy to the many people who lost loved ones.

Courtesy of the Imperial Household Agency
The Emperor and Empress record their New Year message.

In addition, I would like to once again express my respect and gratitude for the extraordinary efforts of medical personnel who have dedicated themselves to the treatment of infected people.

Fortunately, the number of people infected with the novel coronavirus has decreased significantly in our nation, and the situation appears to have calmed down considerably compared to earlier periods, due to widespread vaccinations and tireless efforts by the general public. There also seem to be hopeful signs, as the number of people who become seriously ill or pass away due to infection is steadily decreasing.

At the same time, however, we now face the threat of a new coronavirus variant called omicron.

Looking abroad, there are many countries where the number of infected people is increasing. Many people also do not have access to vaccines or necessary treatment. I hope this situation will improve quickly.

It is heartbreaking to know that many people in Japan have lost their jobs or have fallen into difficult living conditions due to the infections. I earnestly hope that much generous assistance will be extended to those who need help.

I am aware that the people of Japan have suffered, but I again sincerely hope that all of us will learn from the experiences we have had and continue to make efforts to prevent infectious diseases. I very much hope we will share our pain and support each other to overcome this difficult situation, while placing greater importance on connections among people.

I look forward to the day when the spread of infections is over and we can meet again in person.

Last year marked the 10th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake. Reconstruction is progressing step by step thanks to people’s tireless efforts. At the same time, however, I am concerned that many people are still struggling under difficult circumstances.

It is also heart-wrenching to know that many people died or suffered damage due to typhoons and heavy rain last year. My concern will continue for the people in disaster-stricken areas.

Many difficulties still lie ahead of us, but I believe that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games held last summer gave courage and hope to many people, thanks to the efforts of athletes and other people involved.

I sincerely hope that this year will be a good year for you to move forward with bright hopes and dreams. I wish the people of our country and the world happiness and peace in the New Year.

— Message from the Empress

Last year was surely another difficult year for many people. Many must also be struggling due to the cold spell that occurred at the end of the year. Please take good care of yourself.

I hope from the bottom of my heart that this year will be as peaceful and rewarding as possible for you.