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Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko send supportive message to widow of murdered diplomat

Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko of Japan have sent a sympathetic and supportive message to the widow of a Foreign Ministry diplomat killed on 28 May. The victim, Satoshi Oyama, 39, was stabbed in Kawasaki.

The Imperial Household Agency announced on Thursday that the message from Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko was passed to the widow through the Vice Foreign Minister, Takeo Akiba.

Exact details of the letter have been kept private. The retired couple have a history of sending such messages to those that worked with them and who they were close to having died or been victims of an accident.

The Imperial Household Agency added that the imperial couple were deeply saddened by the number of children who were victims of the stabbing spree.

Oyama had worked with the couple when they were Emperor and Empress of Japan where he had served as an interpreter on four occasions. He was an expert in the Myanmar language of Burmese and had a promising future ahead of him in the foreign service with many believing he could have served as a diplomat to Myanmar.

The Imperial Household Agency explained that Oyama first interpreted for Akihito and Michiko in December 2013 during a tea when leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and their wives were invited to the Imperial Palace. His services were also required in February 2015, April 2015, and July 2015.

According to the Japan Times, Foreign Minister Taro Kono told the media about Oyama, “He was a Burmese specialist and an extremely brilliant young official. This is very deplorable.”

Satoshi Oyama was one of 19 people stabbed while outside waiting on a school bus in Kawasaki on Tuesday. Two victims were adults with the other 17 being children. The attack, perpetrated by 51-year-old Ryuichi Iwasaki, killed two – Oyama and an 11-year-old girl named Hanako Kuribayashi. Iwasaki died in hospital from a self-inflicted stab wound to the neck.

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