Emperor gives message of hope for 2023

The Yomiuri Shimbun / Courtesy of the Imperial Household Agency
From left the Empress, the Emperor and their daughter Princess Aiko at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo

The Emperor issued a statement to convey his thoughts as the New Year began. The following is the full text of the statement, as translated by The Japan News.


There were natural disasters such as earthquakes, typhoons and heavy snowfall in many areas, and coronavirus infections continued to have a major impact on society again last year. In addition, the rising cost of goods and other issues must have caused difficulties for many people.

Last year was the 50th anniversary of the return of Okinawa to Japan. I visited Okinawa Prefecture with the Empress and prayed for the repose of the souls of those who lost their lives in the Battle of Okinawa, and reaffirmed in my mind the importance of peace. I am deeply saddened by the fact that wars and conflicts still occur frequently in many parts of the world, and many lives are lost. I strongly feel the importance of dialogue and cooperation in the international community to overcome the differences in our standpoints.

Last autumn, I was able to travel within the country for the first time in almost three years. I am happy and grateful to have been warmly welcomed by so many people everywhere I went. There may be many hardships ahead, but I hope that people will continue to support each other with mutual consideration and overcome the difficulties they face.

May the new year be a year in which the people of our country and the world can move forward with hope.