The Emperor of Japan, Naruhito, has received his first jab of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Akasaka Imperial Residence.
The Imperial Household Agency broke with their stance to not share vaccination information on the Imperial Family, revealing Emperor Naruhito received his first shot on 6 July. However, they did not reveal if his wife, Empress Masako, also received a jab.
A spokesman for the Imperial Household explained why they shared the news on the Emperor: “We deemed it appropriate to make an announcement about the Emperor as he is the symbol of the state.”
It is known that Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Michiko were inoculated in June.
Tokyo has just declared another state of emergency, its fourth, due to the upsurge in coronavirus cases. The Olympics are due to start in Japan in just a couple of weeks; the Opening Ceremony is set for 23 July.
The Emperor of Japan, 61, was said to be concerned about the Olympic Games at the end of last month.
The Emperor is “extremely worried” that the Olympics and Paralympics will result in the further spread of the COVID-19 virus. In a press conference this week, the Grand Steward of the Imperial Household Agency, Yasuhiko Nishimura, said that Naruhito had expressed his concern over the games.
“His Majesty is extremely worried about the current situation of the COVID-19 infections. While there are voices of unease among the public, I believe [the Emperor] is concerned that holding the Olympics and Paralympics … may lead to the expansion of the infections,” he said.
He also urged organisers to “take every possible anti-virus measures so as not to cause the spread of the infections at the Olympics and Paralympics, where the Emperor serves the Honorary Patron.”
The Emperor was due to open the games last year, but the Imperial Palace has said plans for any attendance at the games by His Imperial Majesty have not been finalised.