Japan emperor hopes for compassion in 2024 amid wars, disasters

Japanese Emperor Naruhito in his New Year address released Monday expressed hope that people will continue to support each other with compassion in the coming year, while noting how the world has been grappling with ongoing conflicts and natural disasters.

Voicing concern for those impacted in Japan by earthquakes, heavy rains, typhoons and snowstorms, the emperor also noted the difficulties faced by many over a rise in the cost of living while saying he was “heartened” to see people helping those in need.

“I pray that the coming year will be a bright and hopeful one for people in our country and worldwide,” the 63-year-old said in a statement.

With the coronavirus pandemic tailing off, the emperor has been able to conduct more official duties with his wife, Empress Masako, in person in 2023.

The couple, who celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary last year, traveled in June to Iwate Prefecture to commemorate the victims of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan’s northeast and also made a goodwill visit to Indonesia later that same month.

The emperor said his “heart ached for the many lives lost” in the wars and conflicts around the world, adding that such events “once again remind me of the importance of striving for mutual understanding and cooperation in order to build a peaceful world.”

His address comes as the Russian war in Ukraine is about to enter its third year, and Israel’s war with the Palestinian militant group Hamas shows little signs of abating.

The emperor, together with other members of the imperial family, is set to hold a public New Year greeting event at the Imperial Palace on Tuesday.


Source KYODO