Emperor meets heads of state from 7 countries

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Emperor meets Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Wednesday.

The Emperor held meetings at the Imperial Palace on Wednesday with heads of state from seven countries who had attended the state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday.

The heads of state whom the Emperor met are the king of Jordan, the emir of Qatar and the presidents of Vietnam, Togo, Comoros, Palau and Sri Lanka.

According to the Imperial Household Agency, it is exceptional for the Emperor to hold separate meetings with seven heads of state in one day. Each meeting lasted about 10 minutes, during which time the Emperor thanked each of them for their messages of condolence over Abe’s death.

Some of the heads of state officially invited the Emperor and the Empress to their countries. To the emir of Qatar, where the soccer World Cup will kick off in November, the Emperor expressed his wish for the success of the event.

Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Emperor has refrained from shaking hands with foreign dignitaries, but he shook hands with the heads of state, believing the risk of infection would be low if both parties wore masks given the present state of coronavirus infections.