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Japan’s Emperor Naruhito wishes 2023 to be year of hope

Tokyo, Jan 1 (EFE).- Japanese Emperor Naruhito on Sunday hoped that 2023 would be a year of hope at a time still marked by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

“I wish for the new year to be one in which people in Japan and the rest of the world can walk with hope,” Naruhito said in his New Year address, according to the Imperial Household Agency.

The 62-year-old head of state expressed a “deep sadness for the many lives lost” in wars and conflicts around the world and stressed the importance of repeated dialog “to overcome differences in stances and working together with others in the international community.”

Having resumed his visits to different regions of Japan this year after the most restrictive moments of the pandemic, the emperor thanked the Japanese people for welcoming him effusively during these trips.

On Monday, for the first time since the pandemic, the imperial family is expected to hold a public New Year greeting event at the Imperial Palace.

It will be the first time that Princess Aiko, the only child of Naruhito and his wife Masako, takes part in this ceremony, since coming of age during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Naruhito and Masako, who will turn 60 this year, are scheduled to visit in June the northeastern prefecture of Iwate, which was hit hard by a major earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

In September, they are scheduled to visit the northern island of Hokkaido and the prefectures of Kagoshima (southwest) and Ishikawa (west coast) in October.

There is also the possibility of the imperial couple attending the coronation ceremony of Britain’s King Charles III in May. EFE


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