By : Alexander Woodman
On February 20th, 2020, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Emperor of Japan, Naruhito, the Ambassador of Japan to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Mr. Tsukasa Uemura, held a reception in his residence. Traditionally, the reigning Emperor’s birthday (“Tenno tanjobi”) is a national holiday in the Japanese calendar.
The birthday of Emeritus Emperor Akihito was on December 23rd, and this was the date of the holiday between 1989 and 2018. Since His Majesty Akihito abdicated the throne on April 30th, 2019, the date of national holiday celebration changed to the birthday of Emperor Naruhito (February 23rd, 1960). Emperor Naruhito ascended the throne and became Japan’s 126th Emperor on May 1st, 2019.
The event hosted by Ambassador Uemura was attended by officials from the Saudi government, diplomatic corps, private sectors, and cultural organizations. HRH Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Governor of Riyadh Region, graced the reception as well.
In his speech, Ambassador Uemura stated, “Our Imperial Family and Saudi Royal Family have long enjoyed exceptionally splendid relations. Their Majesties Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako paid an official visit to Saudi Arabia for the first time in 1994. Frequently ever since, His Imperial Majesty has visited Saudi Arabia. In 2017, His Majesty King Salman became the first Saudi King to visit Japan since 1971. His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman participated in last year’s G20 Osaka summit. His Royal Highness Prince Turki bin Mohammed bin Fahd kindly attended the enthronement ceremony last year. Moreover, Prime Minister Abe’s visit to Saudi Arabia last month gave fresh momentum to our already promising relations.”
Further, Mr. Tsukasa Uemura referred to the Saudi G20 presidency in 2020. The Ambassador underscored that Japan will continue to spare no effort in making Saudi G20 successful and build much more amicable and broader relations with Saudi Arabia as indispensable partners to each other.
On his birthday, His Majesty Emperor Naruhito, accompanied by his wife Empress Masako, attended a series of celebrations at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. In his welcoming note, Emperor Naruhito emphasized that he would take the opportunity of his birthday to pray for the happiness of people, the development of the nation, and the health of those present.
Alexander Woodman is an author based in the Gulf. His research interest includes global health, international health policy development, transnational and transcultural health politics, as well as diplomacy.