Japan’s Emperor, Empress receive New Year’s greetings

Pool photo / The Yomiuri Shimbun
The emperor and Empress are seen during a ceremony to receive greetings at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Sunday.

Tokyo (Jiji Press) — The Emperor and Empress received New Year’s greetings from other Imperial family members and the country’s leaders, including Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, in a ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Sunday.

“At the beginning of the New Year, I pray for the happiness of the people and the development of the nation,” the Emperor said in a speech.

The ceremony was scaled down for the third straight year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, though the number of participants increased from a year before by taking infection prevention measures.

Reflecting the wish of the Emperor and the Empress, female members of the Imperial family refrained from wearing tiaras at the ceremony in consideration of the pandemic.

The Imperial family will greet the public at the Imperial Palace on Monday, a New Year’s event that was canceled for two straight years through 2022 due to the pandemic.