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Emperor’s Wishes for a Year of ‘Bright Hopes and Dreams’ via Video Message

“I hope, from the bottom of my heart, that we will share each other’s pain and support each other to overcome this difficult situation” ー His Majesty the Emperor of Japan.

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Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan, 2022 New Year's message.

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On the occasion of the New Year, His Majesty the Emperor, accompanied by Her Majesty the Empress, delivered his New Year greeting to the people via video message. The New Year public gathering at the Imperial Palace, where the Emperor has delivered his message in person in the past, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Emperor expressed his sympathy for the people of Japan who are suffering from the impact of COVID-19, and wished for “a good year for everyone to move forward with bright hopes and dreams.”

The message, which is 5 minutes and 55 seconds long, was released at 5:30 a.m. on January 1 by the Imperial Household Agency. It coincides with the first imperial ritual held every new year, the Shiho-hai.

The full transcript of the video message, released by His Majesty the Emperor and Empress through the Imperial Household Agency, follows:

On the occasion of the New Year 2022, His Majesty the Emperor, followed by Empress Masaoko, Crown Prince Akishino, Princess Aiko and other members of the Imperial Family.

His Majesty the Emperor:

Happy New Year.

Princess Aiko.

Her Majesty the Empress:

Happy New Year.

His Majesty the Emperor:

His Majesty Emperor Naruhito of Japan

I am unfortunately unable to speak to you in person at the Imperial Palace public gathering again this year, to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Therefore, I would like to send you my greeting by video message, as I did last year. 

In the past year, COVID-19 has continued its rampage, infecting and claiming the lives of many people both at home and abroad. I would like to express my deepest condolences for those who have lost their lives, and my heartfelt sympathy to the many who have lost their loved ones. 

I would also like to once again express my respect and gratitude for the extraordinary efforts of the medical personnel who have devoted themselves to the treatment of those infected.

Fortunately, the number of new cases of COVID-19 has decreased significantly in our nation, and the situation appears to have calmed down considerably as a result of widespread vaccination and tireless efforts by the public. There also seem to be hopeful signs as the number of COVID-19 cases leading to severe illness or death has decreased steadily.

At the same time, we are now faced with the threat of a new mutation of COVID-19, the Omicron strain.

Looking abroad, many countries have seen an increase in the number of people infected by the virus. Many of these do not have access to vaccines or the necessary treatment. I hope that this situation will improve quickly.

As for Japan, it is heartbreaking to know that many have lost their employment, or have fallen into difficult living conditions, due to the impact of this novel coronavirus. I hope that many hands of generosity will be extended to those who are in need of help.

I am aware that the people of Japan have endured much hardship, but I hope that we will all learn from our past experiences and continue to make efforts to combat COVID-19 infections. 

I hope, from the bottom of my heart, that we will share each other’s pain and support each other to overcome this difficult situation, while cherishing even more the connections among people.

I look forward to the day when the coronavirus pandemic comes to an end and we can meet again in person. 

Last year marked the 10th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake. Thanks to the tireless efforts of the people, reconstruction has progressed one step at a time. 

At the same time, I am concerned about the many people who are still struggling under difficult circumstances.

It is also heartbreaking to know that so many people suffered or lost their lives due to typhoons and heavy rain last year. My concern continues for the people in the disaster-stricken areas. 

Many difficulties still lie ahead of us, but I believe that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games held last summer gave courage and hope to many, thanks to the efforts of the athletes and organizers.

I hope that this year will be a good year for everyone to move forward with bright hopes and dreams. 

This New Year, I pray for happiness and peace for the people of Japan and the world.

Her Majesty the Empress:

Her Majesty Empress Masako of Japan

Last year was surely a year of hardship for many people. Many of you may be facing difficulties because of the cold spell that began at the end of the year. Please take good care of yourself. 

From the bottom of my heart, I pray for a peaceful and fruitful year for us all.

(Read the remarks of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress in Japanese at this link.)