Japan Emperor Hopes for Support for Needy People to Expand

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

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—Japanese Emperor Naruhito, in a New Year’s message on Monday, expressed his wish that support will expand for people in difficulties, including those affected by natural disasters and soaring prices.

“I wish moves to support people needing help will increase,” the Emperor said in the written message, released through the Imperial Household Agency, expressing his sympathy to those who are struggling.

On the global front, Emperor Naruhito said it is painful that many lives are being lost in wars and conflicts. “I’m reminded of the importance of people trying to understand each other and cooperate to build a peaceful world.”

“I pray that the new year will be a year in which people in our country and around the world can move forward with bright hopes,” the Emperor said.

Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako will attend a ceremony to celebrate the arrival of the new year at the Imperial Palace on Monday. They will greet the public in events at the palace in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward on Tuesday together with other Imperial Family members, including Emperor Emeritus Akihito, Empress Emerita Michiko, Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko.

This year, the Emperor and the Empress will visit Okayama, Saga, Gifu and Oita prefectures for four major annual regional events that are usually attended by the Imperial couple.

A plan is being considered for Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako to travel to Britain, after their visit to the country scheduled for 2020 was canceled due to the novel coronavirus crisis.

Princess Aiko, the only child of the Imperial couple, will graduate from Gakushuin University this spring.

Prince Hisahito, the third child of Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko, will turn 18 in September to become an adult member of the Imperial Family. Prince Hisahito, who is second in line to the throne, is a second grader at the University of Tsukuba’s Senior High School at Otsuka in Tokyo.