Emperor issues New Year video message

NHK -- Jan 01
Japan's Emperor has expressed his thoughts for people who are affected by the coronavirus pandemic in his New Year's video message.

Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako spoke to the public in a video released by the Imperial Household Agency.

It was the second time since 2021 the Emperor and Empress have released a New Year video message instead of appearing publicly. Due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus, the Imperial Family has canceled for the second year its annual New Year's appearance at the palace.

The Emperor said his heart aches when he thinks of the many people who have lost their jobs or are facing hardships due to the pandemic.

He expressed hope that many warm helping hands will be offered to those in need.

He also expressed his hope that everyone in Japan will learn from the experience, continue their efforts to prevent infections, support each other and overcome these challenging circumstances.

The Empress touched upon the severe weather conditions over the past several days. She expressed concern for the health of people affected by the cold.