Emperor Naruhito of Japan has said that he is thankful for the “perseverance and strength of the [Japanese] people” during the pandemic. He made the remarks on the occasion of his 61st birthday on 23 February.
The Emperor also thanked the medical professionals for all of their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He held a press conference last Friday in Tokyo ahead of his birthday where he told the press: “I look forward to a bright future after the public overcomes the coronavirus pandemic with patience by cooperating with each other.”
His Imperial Majesty also expressed his condolences to the families and loved ones of those who have lost their lives to the coronavirus. He praised how the people have worked together to prevent the further spread of the disease.
Emperor Naruhito expressed his hope that he and Empress Masako will be able to visit the northeastern Tohoku region of Japan, which is due to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster that impacted the area on 11 March. The disaster killed around 16,000 and left around 2,500 unaccounted for.
“If I have a chance, I hope to visit the affected areas with the passing of more than 10 years. I feel that the wounds of people affected by the disaster have not yet healed,” he said.
The Emperor was also quizzed on his niece, Princess Mako’s postponed marriage to Kei Komuro. He would only say that he hoped for “a situation in which many people are convinced and pleased, as Crown Prince Fumihito [her father] said.”