Human Interest

Empress Masako releases 58th birthday message to Japanese public

Tokyo, Dec 9 (EFE).- On her 58th birthday on Thursday, Japan’s Empress Masako thanked the public for their messages sent to her only daughter, Princess Aiko, during her recent coming of age celebrations, and expressed solidarity with health workers and public affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Masako expressed her wish that Aiko successfully fulfill her duties as an adult member of the Imperial family, after she turned 20 years old earlier this month.

“It is hard to believe that little Aiko is already an adult. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has warmly watched over her growth,” she said in a message released by the Imperial Household Agency.

“The 20 years since Aiko’s birth seem to have been both long and fleeting, but I am deeply moved by the many memories that come to mind,” added the empress.

She also showed support for health workers continuing to work during the Covid-19 pandemic amid physical and mental fatigue, and during another “heartbreaking” year.

“My heart aches to hear that many people have been faced with hardships such as reduced income, or having to abandon higher education,” she added.

In the year marking the 10th anniversary of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Masako said: “It pains me to know that there are still people who have not been able to rebuild their lives or are still suffering from mental trauma.”

The empress also took the opportunity to congratulate the athletes and para-athletes who competed in the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games under extraordinary circumstances due to the pandemic, together with the medical personnel and those who made it possible.

She ended her message by expressing gratitude to her husband, Emperor Naruhito, for his constant concern about her health, adding that she hopes to “support the emperor by his side and fulfill my own duties.”

Masako has suffered from stress-induced depression since 2003.

The health of the empress, who in 2019 ascended the Chrysanthemum throne with Naruhito to inaugurate the Reiwa era, has shown signs of improvement but her condition fluctuates, according to a statement also released Thursday by Imperial family doctors. EFE


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