According to a statement released in advance by the Imperial Household Agency on Sunday, the 62-year-old emperor said,
Even today, wars and conflicts frequently occur worldwide, and I feel a deep sadness that many people have lost their lives. I strongly feel the importance of repeated dialogue and cooperation with othersin the international community to overcome differences in stances.- The Japanese Emperor Naruhito
Images show the Emperor and other members of the Royal Family waving to the throng below them while standing behind a glass panel in the palace. There were a lot of people in the crowd waving Japanese flags.
He wished everyone a "peaceful" 2023 in statements that were abbreviated and delivered on Monday. “I know that there will be many difficulties, but I hope that this year will be a peaceful and good one for all of you,” the emperor said. The New Year's address that Naruhito gave from 2020 through 2022 was transmitted through video message.
Empress Masako, the couple's daughter Princess Aiko, and other members of the Imperial Family accompanied Naruhito at the ceremony. It is not possible for Princess Aiko to ascend to the position of Empress due to the legislation of male-only succession in Japan.
On Sunday, Naruhito was among the foreign ambassadors who celebrated the New Year at a reception held at the Imperial palace.
After the end of World War II and the occupation of Japan by the United States, Japan adopted a new constitution that prevented members of the Imperial family from holding political office. For centuries, the people of Japan saw their emperors as the embodiment of gods in human form. Emperor Hirohito was the final heavenly Emperor, and Naruhito inherited his title from him.
These days, rather than serving as the head of state, Naruhito serves more as a symbol of the state, and he holds little political influence. Despite having a smaller profile in public, the Emperor of Japan is nonetheless held in high regard throughout the country.
Emperor Naruhito's began his reign in 2019, after his father, Akihito, became the first emperor to abdicate in almost two centuries.