Emperor Naruhito of Japan is set to deliver his first video message to the people of Japan. The Emperor, who had to cancel the yearly New Year events at the Imperial Palace due to COVID, will speak to the Japanese people for New Year’s via video for the first time.
The Imperial Household Agency has announced that the monarch will speak to the people in place of the annual New Year’s greeting that takes place at the Imperial Palace on 2 January where the Emperor gives remarks.
“The Emperor’s direct interactions with the Japanese people have decreased due to the coronavirus epidemic, which has led to all of his regional visits being postponed. We have decided on the video message as a substitute for the Jan. 2 greeting event,” they said.
The Imperial Household has not said when the video will air, but it is thought it will be on 1 January. It is not known if Empress Masako will make an appearance in the video.
The Emperor and Empress are concerned about the impact of COVID and health of their people, and it is expected this will be touched on during his video remarks at the beginning of the new year.
It will be the first time Emperor Naruhito has released a video message to his people since ascending the throne upon the abdication of his father, Emperor Emeritus Akihito in 2019.
Akihito only released two video messages during his 30 year reign – once after the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami to hit northeastern Japan and to announce his intent to abdicate in 2016.