Press Conference on the occasion of His Majesty's Birthday (2013)

Questions by the Press to be answered by His Majesty on the Occasion of His Majesty's Birthday (2013), and the Activities of the Emperor over the Past Year

Press Conference on the Occasion of His Majesty's Birthday (2013)

(Imperial Household Agency Press Club)

Question 1
As Your Majesty celebrates Your eightieth birthday, sanju, on December 23rd, we will soon be marking a quarter-century since the start of Your era of Heisei. In the course of the Showa era and the current Heisei era, we have lived through a world war, its aftermath and subsequent recovery, numerous natural disasters, and difficult economic times. Your Majesty has also undergone two major surgeries. Looking back on Your eighty years, please tell us about any events that have left special impressions on You, and also, about Your thoughts on turning eighty, and how You would like to lead Your life in the coming years.
Answer 1

Regarding the question on what events have left me with special impressions over the past eighty years, I would say that what stands out most in my mind is the Second World War. Japan was already at war with China by the time I reached school age. The following year, on December 8th, Japan also entered into war with the United States, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, in addition to China. I was in my last year of elementary school when the war ended. About 3.1 million Japanese people are said to have lost their lives in that war. It still pains me deeply to think that so many people, who must have had various dreams and hopes for the future, lost their lives at a young age.

After the war, Japan was occupied by the allied forces, and based on peace and democracy as values to be upheld, established the Constitution of Japan, undertook various reforms and built the foundation of Japan that we know today. I have profound gratitude for the efforts made by the Japanese people at the time who helped reconstruct and improve the country devastated by the war. I also feel that we must not forget the help extended to us in those days by Americans with an understanding of Japan and Japanese culture. Today, more than sixty years since the end of the war, we have seen that, in the face of major disasters such as the Great East Japan Earthquake, there are so many people in Japan who value the bonds between people, can deal with various situations calmly, and work hard towards reconstruction. I have found this most reassuring.

On reaching the age of eighty, I feel fortunate that I am able to lead a life always feeling gratitude to those who have rebuilt Japan and who continue to commit themselves across the nation to the betterment and development of our country in various ways. Having already lived eighty years, I am somewhat perplexed by the question about my life in the coming years, but I would say that, while accepting the limits arising from age, I hope to continue to fulfill my role as best I can.

Over the course of the eighty years of my life, there have been many ties and encounters with various people, starting with Emperor Showa, from all of whom I have learned much, both directly and indirectly. I am indebted to the Imperial Household Agency and the Imperial Guard Headquarters, and I feel grateful that I have been supported by so many sincere and devoted people to this day.

Being an emperor can be a lonely state. But with my marriage, I gained a partner who shares my appreciation for the things that I value. It has given me comfort and joy to have by my side the Empress, who has always respected my position and stood by me, and I feel most fortunate that I have been able to endeavor to carry out my role as Emperor with the Empress by my side.

I shall continue to pray every day for the happiness of the people and carry out my duties for the people.

Question 2
For many years Your Majesties have visited facilities for children on Children' s Day and facilities for the elderly on Respect for the Aged Day. The Imperial Household Agency announced that after next year Your Majesties will pass on these duties to the younger generation. We understand that these decisions concerning the passing on of official duties are based on regular discussions between Your Majesty and Their Imperial Highnesses the Crown Prince and Prince Akishino. Would You tell us about Your current health and Your thoughts on passing on these official duties to the younger generation?
Answer 2

Since 1992, the Empress and I have been visiting facilities for children to commemorate Children' s Day and facilities for the elderly on Respect for the Aged Day. From the year after next, however, we have decided to pass on these visits to the younger generation. We were in our fifties when we started this tradition, but the Empress and I will both be in our eighties by 2015. We already have quite an age gap with the children, while we will be around the same age as the elderly citizens. In two years the Crown Prince will be in his mid-fifties, which is around the age when we began our visits. For these reasons, we felt it desirable to pass on these duties to the younger generation after next year. My health has had no bearing on this decision.

Regarding the passing on of official duties for the purpose of reducing my burden, as I said in my birthday press conference last year, I would like to maintain the status quo for the time being.

Question 3
This year we saw much discussion regarding the relationship between politics and the activities of the Imperial Family, such as activities related to the bid to host the Olympic Games. Would Your Majesty tell us about Your thoughts on the role of the Imperial Family and its activities?
Answer 3

The Constitution of Japan stipulates, "The Emperor shall perform only such acts in matters of state as are provided for in this Constitution and he shall not have powers related to government." It is compliance with these provisions of the Constitution that I have in mind as I define my activities as emperor.

In the case of the bid to host the Olympic Games mentioned in the question, the purpose was clear, but there may be instances when it is more difficult to judge whether or not a particular activity has to do with state affairs. When this happens, I try to seek the advice of the Grand Steward and Special Advisors, who are capable of considering these issues as objectively and legally as possible. In this case, the Special Advisors, the Grand Steward, and others gave much careful thought into whether or not it touched on state affairs. It is my intention to continue to attend to my duties in a manner compliant with the Constitution.

Related Question
Your Majesty recently visited India with Her Majesty the Empress and further deepened the friendly relations between Japan and India. Would You tell us Your thoughts on Your first official visit to India in 53 years, and would You also share with us any points You bear in mind when promoting international goodwill?

This visit to India was to commemorate the landmark year of the sixtieth anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and India.

When I first visited India it was as a representative of Emperor Showa to reciprocate the state visit to Japan by then President Rajendra Prasad. This was before legal provisions were made to allow others to temporarily substitute for the Emperor in His affairs of state, so it fell on me to make the visit on His behalf.

As I recall, it was not long after India had gained independence and President Prasad was the first president of India. I think it was a time when India was working hard to build a fledgling nation. We also met Vice President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, who later became President, and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. They were all well known around the world as thinkers. Looking back on that visit even now, I feel that it was a meaningful visit.

Before then, I had read comparatively more books on European and Chinese history, as there were not many books on the history of the region that lay between Europe and China and there was a lot that was unknown. Through the visit, I feel I was blessed with the opportunity to learn about the history of the countries that lay between Europe and China.

On visiting India this time, because of my previous visit, I did have a certain amount of knowledge about the country, but I also felt that there was much greater interest in Japan and deeper interaction between the two countries now than the last time I was there.

For example, we observed the students at the Jawaharlal Nehru University having discussions in Japanese, and their discussions, all in Japanese, were very impressive. I was also struck by the Indian boy we met in a park who was thinking seriously about local environmental issues. From the many things we saw and heard, I received the impression that we can expect high hopes for future exchanges with India and for the development of the country itself.

provisional translation

Recent Portraits of His Majesty the Emperor on the occasion of His Majesty's Birthday

The Activities of His Majesty the Emperor Over the Past Year

Today His Majesty the Emperor celebrates His 80th birthday, an age known as sanju in Japanese.

In February last year, His Majesty underwent coronary artery bypass surgery at the University of Tokyo Hospital. He recovered steadily after that, and during this past year He has remained healthy, with no major health problems. When asked about His official duties at the press conference on the occasion of His birthday last year, His Majesty replied:" I would like to maintain the status quo for the time being." As He said, He did not reduce His responsibilities or refrain from carrying out any official duties during this past year.

With regard to His official duties of state, this year His Majesty signed or affixed His official seal to a total of 990 documents submitted by the Cabinet. He also attended many ceremonies and events, including the Imperial Investiture of the Prime Minister, the accreditation of 118 Ministers of State and other senior officials, the presentation of Letters of Credentials by 26 newly arrived foreign ambassadors, and the awards and decoration ceremonies for the Order of the Grand Cordon and the Order of Culture, and received in audience the recipients of the decorations. Together with Her Majesty the Empress, His Majesty attended a total of 19 awards ceremonies and commemorative events. At the Imperial Residence and the Imperial Palace, Their Majesties met with many people, including the recipients of the Order of Culture and Persons of Cultural Merit, members of the Japan Academy, members of the Japan Art Academy, persons newly recognized for maintaining Japan's intangible cultural properties, representatives of the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers returning from their overseas posts, and representatives of the Senior Overseas Volunteers and the youth and senior Volunteers for Nikkei Communities. Their Majesties expressed Their appreciation to these individuals and honored their achievements on a total of 35 occasions. Their Majesties also heard 17 lectures from administrative vice-ministers of government ministries, the Governor of the Bank of Japan, the Director-General of the Foreign Policy Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and others, and received explanatory briefings on 37 occasions regarding Their official visits and attendances. Their Majesties met with members of the Palace voluntary workforce and offerers from every prefecture bringing their first-crop rice and millet for the Niinamesai, a ceremony in which the Emperor offers those first crops to the imperial ancestors and deities of heaven and earth. These totaled 62 occasions and 7,721 persons.

With regard to Japan's relations with other countries, His Majesty made a state visit, together with Her Majesty the Empress, to India from November 30 to December 6, in order to deepen friendly relations with the country, which last year celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of its national foundation. This was Their Majesties' first visit to India in 53 years, the previous time being a reciprocal visit undertaken in 1960 following the visit to Japan by His Excellency Rajendra Prasad, the then President of India. At the time, there were no legal provisions to allow others to temporary substitute for His Majesty the Emperor in His affairs of state, so the then Crown Prince undertook the reciprocal visit in place of Emperor Showa.

Their Majesties' visit this time started in Delhi, where Their Majesties attended the welcoming ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presidential palace, met with His Excellency President Pranab Mukherjee and his daughter, Ms. Sharmistha Mukherjee, and attended a banquet hosted by His Excellency President Mukherjee. Their Majesties also received in audience the Honorable Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Vice President and Speaker of Rajya Sabha, His Excellency Mr. Mohammad Hamid Ansari, and the Leader of the Opposition, Lok Sabha, Mrs. Sushma Swaraj. Their Majesties accepted the invitation of the Honorable Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Ms. Gursharan Kaur for a luncheon at their official residence. Their Majesties also took a walk in the Lodhi Gardens, where They met with and talked with many local people as well as Japanese nationals living in Delhi. At Jawaharlal Nehru University, after listening to the outline of the university, Their Majesties observed a class in the Japanese Language Department, visited the library to see some of its collection, and conversed with some students. At the India International Centre, Their Majesties met with those who have been working hard to promote friendly relations between India and Japan and expressed Their gratitude and appreciation for their efforts. At the New Delhi Japanese school, Their Majesties were welcomed by a performance of Japanese drums and dance by the pupils. Their Majesties talked with those pupils and heard about the activities of the school from the principal and the teachers. At the Japanese Ambassador's residence, Their Majesties saw that the bo tree, Ficus religiosa, which They had planted 53 years ago as a sapling, had now grown into a very big tree, and together with the embassy members and the local staff, They admired the tree, relishing the memories of Their previous visit. Also at the Ambassador's residence, Their Majesties attended a reception hosted by the Ambassador and his wife and met with representatives of the Japanese community.

In Chennai, the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu, which Their Majesties visited for the first time, They met with the Governor, His Excellency Dr. Konijeti Rosaiah, and the Chief Minister of the state, Ms. Jayaram Jayalalithaa, and attended a luncheon hosted by the Governor. They visited the Kalakshetra Cultural Academy, where They enjoyed the traditional music and dance of Southern India. At the Tamil Nadu Udavikkaram Association for the Welfare of the Differently Abled, Their Majesties observed the rehabilitation exercise and vocational training of children with disabilities and gave encouragement to the children and staff. Their Majesties also took a walk in the Children's Park in Guindy National Park, where They were welcomed by many local people and conversed with them. At the hotel where They were staying, Their Majesties attended a tea for Japanese nationals and gave encouragement to those working in India. When leaving Delhi and Chennai, Their Majesties had tea with those who had worked as members of the welcoming staff in those cities to show Their appreciation and also thanked the security staff for their services.

In welcoming state guests to Japan, His Majesty, together with Her Majesty, attended the welcoming ceremony, met with and held a banquet at the Palace for His Excellency Mr. François Hollande, President of the French Republic, and Ms. Valérie Trierweiler in June this year. Their Majesties also welcomed His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the First Lady of Sri Lanka in March and His Excellency President Enrique Peña Nieto and the First Lady of Mexico in April, as official guests on working visits, hosting luncheons for them. In September His Majesty, on his own, met with and hosted a luncheon for His Excellency President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow of Turkmenistan. This year Their Majesties also met His Excellency President Almazbek Atambayev and the First Lady of Kyrgyzstan, His Excellency President Yayi Boni and the First Lady of Benin, His Excellency President Borut Pahor and the First Lady of Slovenia, and Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain. They also received in audience the Honorable President Pio Garcia Escudero of the Senate of Spain, the Honorable President Geert Corstens of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands and Mrs. Corstens, the Honorable Andrew Scheer, Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons, and Mrs. Scheer, His Excellency Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, and Ms. Gursharan Kaur, His Excellency Norovyn Altankhuyag, Prime Minister of Mongolia, and Mrs. Altankhuyag, the Honorable Taher Nashat al-Masri, President of the Jordanian Senate, His Excellency Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain, the Honorable Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, the Honorable José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, His Excellency Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary, and His Excellency Thongsing Thammavong, Prime Minister of Laos, and Mrs. Thongsing. In addition, Their Majesties invited Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid of Belgium to dinner at the Imperial Residence, and hosted luncheons at the Imperial Residence for the Honorable Konrad Osterwalder, the outgoing Rector of the United Nations University, and Mrs. Osterwalder, the Honorable Howard Hamamoto, Chair of the Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship Foundation, which was founded to commemorate Their Majesties' wedding, the Honorable David Malone, the new Rector of the United Nations University, and Mrs. Malone, and Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn Walailak of Thailand. Their Majesties held teas at the Imperial Residence for Mr. and Mrs. Joe and Etsuko Price, who have supported recovery efforts following the Great East Japan Earthquake, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah and the Queen Consort of Brunei Darussalam, and the Honorable Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Their Majesties invited to tea at the Imperial Palace 37 national leaders and spouses in Japan for TICAD V, the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development, and 14 national leaders and their spouses in Japan for the Japan-ASEAN Commemorative Summit.

Their Majesties have continued to strengthen the ties with the diplomatic corps serving in Tokyo. During the past year, Their Majesties invited to tea newly appointed foreign ambassadors and their spouses, representing 29 countries, held luncheons for ambassadors and their spouses, representing 20 countries, who had been in Japan for three years or longer, and granted farewell audiences to ambassadors and their spouses from 16 countries upon completion of their assignments. Their Majesties also met with newly appointed Japanese ambassadors and their spouses departing for overseas posts in 52 countries and invited to tea Japanese ambassadors and their spouses returning to Japan from 46 countries, and heard accounts of their experiences in the countries to which they had been assigned.

His Majesty continues to give His thoughts to the people and the regions impacted by the Great East Japan Earthquake and the ensuing nuclear accident, with concern for how the conditions have developed since then. In March this year, together with Her Majesty, His Majesty attended the Memorial Service to Commemorate the Second Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake. In July Their Majesties visited the cities of Tono, Ofunato, and Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture to thank the people working to support the victims and offer comfort to those still living in temporary housing. In the same month, wishing to observe the condition of peach production, one of Fukushima Prefecture's best-known agricultural produce, His Majesty, together with Her Majesty, took a private trip to Fukushima. As some areas were damaged by heavy rains during this visit, Their Majesties decided to refrain from visiting the peach producers in the city of Date so as not to interfere with the emergency teams' rescue efforts. Instead, They invited the peach farmers and those associated with peach farming to where They were staying in the city of Fukushima, listened to their reports on peach production and the progress of decontamination efforts, and enjoyed some of the peaches together with the farmers. On the day before, Their Majesties visited the town of Kawamata and the village of Iitate, parts of which have been designated as restricted zones. In Iitate, They stopped by a building housing a temporary elementary school and other facilities as well as several local companies, and listened to the residents' reports on the conditions in the disaster zone.

In addition to the above visits, His Majesty traveled with Her Majesty to Tottori Prefecture to attend the National Arbor Day Festival in May, the city of Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, for the second Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize award ceremony and other events in June, to Kyoto and Osaka Prefectures to attend the opening ceremony of the World Congress of Biological Psychiatry also in June, to the city of Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, to attend the Saito Kinen Festival in August, and to Kumamoto Prefecture to attend the opening of the National Convention for the Development of an Abundantly Productive Sea in October.

While in Kumamoto Prefecture, Their Majesties visited the National Sanatorium Kikuchi Keifuen, where they offered comfort to the Hansen's disease patients and laid flowers before the facility's ossuary. There are 14 Hansen's disease sanatoriums throughout Japan, and Their Majesties have visited 12 of them. On the island of Oshima in the city of Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture, as it was not possible to bring the boat carrying Their Majesties alongside the pier, They invited the residents of the National Sanatorium Oshima Seishoen to come and visit Them at a facility near the Kagawa prefectural government office instead. In the city of Minamata, Kumamoto Prefecture, Their Majesties paid Their respects and laid flowers at the Memorial Monument for Minamata Disease Victims. At the Minamata Disease Municipal Museum, They listened to the personal experiences narrated by a victim and also met with patients suffering from fetal Minamata at a prefectural facility.

In addition to the above, Their Majesties started taking private trips this year, selecting some of Their own destinations and times for visits to regions in Japan. Emperor Showa and Empress Kojun also began taking such trips when Emperor Showa turned 79. In April, prior to Their visit to Fukushima Prefecture in July, Their Majesties visited the Sketch Park in Anzu no Sato, Apricot Village, in the city of Chikuma, Nagano Prefecture.

As part of His official duties, His Majesty made visits in and around Tokyo on 58 occasions. These included attending the opening of the National Diet, the Memorial Ceremony for the War Dead, the award ceremonies for the Japan Prize, the Japan Art Academy Award and the Japan Academy Prize, and various other award ceremonies and commemorative events. This year Tokyo hosted the National Sports Festival, and His Majesty, together with Her Majesty, attended the opening ceremony and a reception for the tournament officials. They also watched the handball competition in the city of Musashi-murayama and the boxing competition in the city of Hino. This year Their Majesties were also able to watch the swimming competition, which They could not attend in the past because of timing. Their Majesties always attend the National Sports Festival in the autumn, but the swimming competition is held in the summer, which prevented Them from attending the event. This year, however, as the competition was held in Tokyo, Their Majesties were able to go and see the swimming events. Their Majesties also went to see the swimming events in the National Sports Games for the Disabled, for the first time in many years, as the Games were also held in Tokyo. The National Sports Games for the Disabled began in 1965 thanks to the efforts by Their Majesties, then Their Imperial Highnesses the Crown Prince and Princess. Until 1990, when They passed the role on to His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince, who now attends these events, Their Majesties attended the opening ceremonies of these games without fail, except in 1988 when His Majesty was unable to leave Tokyo because of Emperor Showa's illness. Through the years Their Majesties have observed nearly all the events in the Games and supported sports for the disabled.

This year His Majesty took three trips to the Hayama Imperial Villa, and one trip each to the Suzaki Imperial Villa and the Nasu Imperial Villa. In June His Majesty went to the Hayama Imperial Villa without Her Majesty, as Her Majesty was showing signs of failing strength and it was decided that She had better recuperate at the Imperial Residence. While staying at the Suzaki Imperial Villa, Their Majesties went to visit a local mikan orange farmer, observed the catch being brought ashore at the fish market in the city of Shimoda, and spoke with the chief of the Izu Fisheries Cooperative and with fishermen who had evacuated to this region because of the Great East Japan Earthquake. In the town of Nasu, Their Majesties visited local farmers as They do each year. They also took a stroll in the Nasu Heisei-no-mori forest, which was created by transferring part of the Imperial Villa grounds from the Imperial Household Agency to the purview of the Ministry of the Environment in accordance with His Majesty's wishes, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of His accession to the throne. Their Majesties conversed with other visitors who were there at the time. Their Majesties spent late August in Karuizawa and Kusatsu.

As for the ritual ceremonies of the Imperial Palace, His Majesty attended 26 annual ceremonies. Just as He did last year, His Majesty took part in the Evening Ritual and Morning Ritual of this year's Niinamesai for shorter lengths of time, attending the ceremonies half way through the ritual. This year, Shikinen Sengu, a series of ceremonies to install the deities in a new shrine rebuilt every 20 years, took place at the Ise Grand Shrine. On this occasion, His Majesty offered prayers from afar to the Kotai Jingu Inner Shrine and the Toyouke Daijingu Outer Shrine in a ceremony held at the Shinkaden. For the Tenchosai, the Saitansai, and a ceremony at the Kashiko Dokoro Imperial Palace Sanctuary, the Koreiden, and the Shinden on the occasion of Their Majesties' visit to India, other officials handled ceremonial duties on His Majesty's behalf.

As He does every year, His Majesty Himself hand-sowed seed-rice, transplanted it, and hand-reaped the grain in the paddy field in a part of the Biological Laboratory of the Imperial Household. Together with His children and grandchildren, His Majesty also sowed upland rice and millet and later harvested the grain. Some of the millet was added to the hand-reaped crop of rice used as an offering in the Niinamesai ritual. His Majesty also made an offering of rice plants with roots still attached, which He had planted, to the Ise Shrine on the occasion of the Kannamesai ritual.

His Majesty continues his scientific research. In preparation for publication of the revised third edition of Fishes of Japan with Pictorial Keys to the Species, He was working on the chapter on gobioid fishes at the Biological Laboratory of the Imperial Household, together with the book's editor, Dr. Tetsuji Nakabo, professor of Kyoto University, and the staff of the Laboratory. This year the third edition was finally published, and His Majesty attended a reception to celebrate the publication of the revised book. In the first edition of Fishes of Japan with Pictorial Keys to the Species published in 1993,342 species were identified while the revised third edition identifies 518 species, 176 more than the first edition. This year His Majesty attended six meetings on fish classification held at the National Museum of Nature and Science. His Majesty also attended the reception for the International Symposium on Systematics and Diversity of Fishes held at the National Museum of Nature and Science and conversed with scholars from Japan and abroad.

His Majesty also continues His research into the feeding habits of the Japanese raccoon dogs living in the Imperial Palace grounds.

In January this year His Majesty underwent regular medical checkups at the Imperial Household Agency Hospital and the University of Tokyo Hospital. The results showed that He was in good health for the most part, and there was no need to alter His daily schedule for the time being. At the same time, given His advancing age and the progress of osteoporosis, which is a side effect of the hormone treatment He has been undergoing since His prostate cancer surgery, the doctors noted that His Majesty will need to continue taking the proper amount of exercise and avoid putting excessive burden on Himself in the course of His daily activities. Following this advice, His Majesty takes a walk in the Imperial garden each morning together with Her Majesty, and on weekends, He plays tennis, albeit for short times only. On Sundays His Majesty sometimes drives His own car to the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace to take walks in the wooded area of the East Gardens and feed the carp in the ponds, visit the fruit orchard planted at His suggestion in 2008 to preserve old strains of fruit species, or climb up to the site of the former Edo Castle. In His free time, His Majesty also enjoys reading and playing the cello.

Now that His Majesty has reached his eightieth birthday, the Imperial Household Agency intends to increase the number of work-free days in His Majesty's schedule and reconsider the approaches to official events and the scheduling of His activities so that His Majesty may spend His days in a manner befitting his age.

On December 23rd, His Majesty's birthday, He will receive felicitations from the members of the staff of the Board of Chamberlains in the morning. Following this, His Majesty will attend five separate events at the Imperial Palace to receive felicitations from the members of the Imperial Family, the staff of the Imperial Household Agency, and others. During the day, His Majesty will appear on the balcony of the Chowa-den in the Imperial Palace three times to receive congratulations from the public. In the afternoon, His Majesty will receive felicitations from the Prime Minister, the chair of the House of Councillors, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, after which He will be joined by other members of the Imperial Family at a celebratory luncheon attended by the heads of the three branches of government, members of the Cabinet, and representatives of various fields. This will be followed by tea with the diplomatic corps, tea with former senior officials of the Imperial Household Agency, and tea with lecturers and other guests. In the evening, His Majesty will receive birthday greetings from Her Imperial Highness Princess Aiko and other young Princesses and Prince of the Imperial Family. Later, His Majesty will sit down to a celebratory birthday dinner with Her Majesty, the children and their spouses.

provisional translation

Birthday Celebration Schedule of His Majesty The Emperor

Monday, December 23, 2013
Time Greetings received by Birthday Celebrations Attended by Location
9:30 a.m. Their Majesties The Emperor and Empress Felicitations and Toast of Celebratory Sake Grand Chamberlain and staff members of the Board of Chamberlains Imperial Residence
10:00 a.m. His Majesty The Emperor Felicitations Grand Steward, Senior Officials and Special Advisors of the Imperial Household Agency Imperial Palace
10:05 a.m. Her Majesty The Empress Felicitations Grand Steward, Vice-Grand Steward representing staff members, Special Advisors Imperial Palace
10:20 a.m. Their Majesties The Emperor and Empress and other members of the Imperial Family Birthday felicitations from the public    Imperial Palace
10:30 a.m. His Majesty The Emperor Felicitations Ceremony Their Imperial Highnesses The Crown Prince and Crown Princess and other members of the Imperial Family Imperial Palace
10:30 a.m. Her Majesty The Empress Felicitations The same as the above Imperial Palace
10:40 a.m. Their Majesties The Emperor and Empress Toast of Celebratory Sake Their Imperial Highnesses The Crown Prince and Crown Princess, other members of the Imperial Family, former members and relatives of the Imperial Family Imperial Palace
11:00 a.m. Their Majesties The Emperor and Empress and other members of the Imperial Family Birthday felicitations from the public    Imperial Palace
11:05 a.m. His Majesty The Emperor Felicitations Staff members of the Imperial Household Agency and the Imperial Guard Headquarters Imperial Palace
11:30 a.m. His Majesty The Emperor Felicitations Former staff members of the Imperial Household Agency and the Imperial Guard Headquarters Imperial Palace
11:40 a.m. Their Majesties The Emperor and Empress and other members of the Imperial Family Birthday felicitations from the public    Imperial Palace
11:50 a.m. His Majesty The Emperor Felicitations 3 Representatives from the Toshokai Imperial Palace
0:55 p.m. His Majesty The Emperor Felicitations Ceremony Prime Minister, Speaker of the House of Representatives, President of the House of Councillors, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Imperial Palace
1:00 p.m. Their Majesties The Emperor and Empress and other members of the Imperial Family Celebratory Luncheon Prime Minister and other senior officials Imperial Palace
3:00 p.m. Their Majesties The Emperor and Empress and other members of the Imperial Family Celebratory Tea Heads of diplomatic corps and their spouses Imperial Palace
3:30 p.m. Their Majesties The Emperor and Empress Celebratory Tea Former Special Advisors, senior officials of the Imperial Household Agency, etc. Imperial Palace
4:40 p.m. Their Majesties The Emperor and Empress Celebratory Tea Lecturers, friends and others Imperial Residence
6:00 p.m. Their Majesties The Emperor and Empress Felicitations Their Imperial Highnesses Princess Aiko, Princess Kako, Prince Hisahito Imperial Residence
6:30 p.m. Their Majesties The Emperor and Empress Celebratory Dinner Their Imperial Highnesses The Crown Prince and Crown Princess, Prince and Princess Akishino, Mr. and Mrs. Kuroda Imperial Residence

provisional translation