Japan Emperor Mentions New Coronavirus in War Memorial Speech

Society

Tokyo, Aug. 15 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Emperor Naruhito, in a rare move, mentioned the spread of the new coronavirus as "a new challenge" the country is facing, in a speech made at an annual war memorial ceremony in Tokyo on Saturday.

"I hope everyone will join hands to overcome the difficult situation and continue to pursue happiness and peace," the Emperor said in the speech.

Past war memorial speeches had changed gradually, with the previous Emperor, now Emperor Emeritus Akihito, and the current Emperor having added new expressions, but the basic structure had remained the same.

In this year's speech, while using almost the same expressions as in last year's speech, Emperor Naruhito touched on the virus crisis by adding a paragraph. It is extremely rare for the Emperor to mention a subject other than the war dead in the annual speech, a move that apparently showed his compassion to people suffering amid the pandemic.

It was the first time in about six months that Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako have gone out of the Akasaka Imperial Residence, where the couple live, to visit places other than the Imperial Palace.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press